This paper provides broader economic underpinnings for the specific issues relating to international discussions or negotiations on investment. It starts with a discussion of the effects of foreign direct investment on development through trade, one third of which takes place within corporate production systems. Then, it explores its impact on development beyond trade. By its nature, foreign direct investment brings into the recipient economy resources that are only imperfectly tradable on markets, especially technology, management know-how, skilled labour, access to international production networks, access to major markets and established brand names. The effects of foreign direct investment on development often depend on the initial conditions prevailing in the recipient countries, on the investment strategies of transnational corporations and on host government policies.