Investment policy

OECD Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment - 4th Edition


The 4th edition of the OECD Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment (BMD4) provides operational guidelines on how foreign direct investment (FDI) activity should be measured and sets the world standard for collecting direct investment statistics.





Order paper copies


Read the brochure explaining the
major changes introduced by BMD4


While BMD4 was completed in 2008, only since September 2014 has the OECD been collecting FDI statistics from member countries according to the updated benchmark definition.

The new FDI statistics database went online on 17 March 2015.

The methodology of the statistics published between 1990 and end-2013 relates to the 3rd edition of the Benchmark Definition which is available in EnglishFrench and Russian.


About the Benchmark Definition

Completed in 2008, the 4th edition of the Benchmark Definition (BMD4) provides:

  • a single point of reference for compilers and users of FDI statistics
  • clear guidance for individual countries compiling direct investment statistics as they develop or change their statistical systems
  • international standards for FDI taking into account the effects of globalisation
  • an international standard that provides the basis for economic analysis, especially for international comparisons and for identifying  national deviations that impact on the comparison
  • practical guidance to users of direct investment statistics including the relationship of FDI to other measures of globalisation
  • an objective basis for measuring methodological differences that may exist between national statistics that need to be taken into account both for cross-country and industry analysis of FDI

BMD4 is fully compatible with the underlying concepts and definitions of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Balance of Payments and International Investment Positions Manual, 6th edition (BPM6) and the general economic concepts set out by the United Nation’s System of National Accounts (SNA).


BMD4 was completed by the OECD Investment Committee's Working Group on International Investment Statistics. The result of several years of  work and consultations with data compilers and data users, it improves existing concepts and definitions in the light of national practical experiences and incorporates concepts and definitions on elements missing from the previous edition (such as, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, special purpose entities, ultimate investing country).


Links and documents

FDI database, news, analysis and forecasts


The OECD’s Revised Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment: Better data for better policy, by Maria Borga, October 2015


Implementing new international standards for compiling FDI statistics, 2015


Implementing new international standards for compiling FDI statistics


Glossary of FDI terms (pdf)


Survey of Implementation of Methodological Standards for Direct Investment (SIMSDI), 2003


FDI Statistics: How Countries Measure FDI, (OECD/IMF) 2001




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