Direct Investment by Country and Industry, 2021
The U.S. direct investment abroad position, or cumulative level of investment, increased $403.3 billion to $6.49 trillion at the end of 2021 from $6.09 trillion at the end of 2020, according to statistics released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The increase reflected a $352.6 billion increase in the position in Europe, primarily in Ireland and the United Kingdom. By industry, holding company affiliates owned by U.S. manufacturers had the largest increase.
The foreign direct investment in the United States position increased $506.1 billion to $4.98 trillion at the end of 2021 from $4.47 trillion at the end of 2020. The increase mainly reflected a $378.4 billion increase in the position from Europe, primarily the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. By industry, affiliates in manufacturing and information accounted for the majority of the increase.
U.S. direct investment abroad (tables 1 – 6)
U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) invest in nearly every country, but their investment in affiliates in five countries accounted for more than half of the total position at the end of 2021. The U.S. direct investment abroad position was largest in the United Kingdom ($1.0 trillion), followed by the Netherlands ($885.3 billion) and Luxembourg ($715.6 billion). Ireland ($556.6 billion) and Canada ($406.4 billion) rounded out the top five.
By industry of the directly owned foreign affiliate, investment was largest in holding companies, which accounted for 47.3 percent of the overall position abroad in 2021. Finance and insurance affiliates were second largest, with 15.6 percent, and manufacturing affiliates were third largest, with 14.1 percent, of U.S. investment. By industry of the U.S. parent, investment by manufacturing MNEs accounted for 49.3 percent of the position, followed by MNEs in finance and insurance (15.1 percent).
U.S. MNEs earned income of $542.3 billion in 2021 on their cumulative investment abroad, a 25.0 percent increase from 2020. Dividends, or repatriated profits, decreased $65.2 billion, or 21.8 percent.
Foreign direct investment in the United States (tables 7 – 10)
By country of the foreign parent, five countries accounted for more than half of the total position at the end of 2021. Japan remained the top investing country with a position of $690.0 billion, followed by the Netherlands ($629.5 billion), Canada ($527.9 billion), the United Kingdom ($512.4 billion), and Germany ($403.6 billion).
By country of the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO), Japan ($721.0 billion) remained the top investing country in terms of position at the end of 2021. Germany ($636.5 billion) moved up one position from 2020 to be the second-largest investing country, moving Canada ($607.3 billion) to third. The United Kingdom ($565.2 billion) and Ireland ($353.0 billion) were the fourth- and fifth-largest investing countries, respectively. On the UBO basis, investment from the Netherlands and Luxembourg was much lower than by the country of foreign parent, indicating that much of the investment from foreign parents in these countries was ultimately owned by investors in other countries.
Foreign direct investment in the United States was concentrated in the U.S. manufacturing sector, which accounted for 42.4 percent of the position. There was also sizable investment in finance and insurance (12.5 percent) and wholesale trade (9.7 percent).
Foreign MNEs earned income of $275.3 billion in 2021 on their cumulative investment in the United States, an 82.4 percent increase from 2020.
|Updates to previously published statistics
[Billions of dollars]1
|U.S. direct investment abroad||Foreign direct investment in the United States|
|Previously published||Revised||Previously published||Revised|
|1. BEA statistics for U.S. direct investment abroad and foreign direct investment in the United States for 2019–2020 are revised to incorporate newly available and revised source data.|
Next release: July 2023
Direct Investment by Country and Industry, 2022