Foreign direct investment (FDI) is becoming an increasingly important part of the Canadian economy, yet the available evidence suggests that the amount of FDI flowing into the Atlantic region is small relative to the size of its economy. Based upon a database compiled by APEC, call centres are the largest employers, followed by manufacturing and the retail sector. The United States is by far the biggest investor in the region. Foreign firms make an important contribution to the provincial economies in Atlantic Canada, boosting investment, employment and exports. However, much of this impact is attributable to a few large firms. The East Coast energy sector has seen substantial growth in foreign investment in the 1990s, with joint ventures increasing in importance.