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US manufacturing competitiveness rising

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BRIC crumbles as member nations' individual ratings shuffle

  • Among the BRIC countries, only China is viewed as a top manufacturing nation in 2016. The other three – Brazil, Russia and India – have seen continuous declines in the study's rankings over the past six years, despite aspirations that they may emerge as manufacturing goliaths.
  • Brazil's political uncertainty, Russia's geopolitical activities and impact from the slide in global crude oil prices, matched with India's challenged economic and policy actions around infrastructure and investments, have likely triggered the decline from the BRIC's manufacturing competitiveness peak.
  • Among the BRIC nations, manufacturing executives expressed optimism for only China and India by 2020, with expectations that India will regain some of its ranking position lost over the past several years.

North America and Asia Pacific become regional clusters of strength

  • The two regions are expected to dominate the competitive landscape in the next four years: All three North American countries (US, Canada and Mexico) in today's top 10 remain there in the 2020 outlook; five Asia Pacific nations (China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India) factor into the study's top 10 in 2020.
  • The US stands out as the anchor for the North American region with the highest level of manufacturing investments, a strong energy profile, and high-quality talent, infrastructure and innovation. Canada's low trade barriers, tariff-free zone and investments in sectors key to its growing high-tech manufacturing future, along with Mexico's 40 free trade agreements, low labor costs and close proximity to the US round out the region.
  • The dominant Asia Pacific countries of China, Japan and South Korea are driven by talent and innovation and along with emerging newer powerhouses, such as Singapore and Taiwan, strengthen the region with a focus on high-tech exports. This region also houses the "Mighty Five" and five of the top 10 countries in current or future GMCI rankings.

European countries feel pressured to remain competitive on global scale

  • European nations are lagging behind as they work through sluggish economic recovery efforts and look to their anchors, Germany and the United Kingdom, to pull them ahead.
  • Most European nations, aside from the two anchors, are expected to slip in overall global manufacturing competitiveness rankings in next five years.

"Made in the USA is making a big comeback,"  said Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness.  "Contrary to the view that manufacturing is dirty, dumb, dangerous and disappearing, our study points to a manufacturing future characterized by innovation-driven growth. Manufacturing is sustainable, smart, safe and surging – and America will lead the world in this transformation."

"The US is currently among the top nations unlocking advanced manufacturing technologies including smart, connected products and factories, predictive analytics and advanced materials that are core to future competitiveness," said Craig Giffi, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Deloitte US Automotive Sector leader. "The U.S. excels at creating connections and synergy between people, technology, capital and organizations to form a cohesive ecosystem of innovation, generating tremendous value from investments in research and development."

According to Michelle Drew Rodriguez, manufacturing leader for Deloitte US's Center for Industry Insights, "While the US lead is a positive signal, the existing engineering and manufacturing workforce that pushed the country forward is beginning to get older. Therefore, it is important that public and private sectors collaborate on the nation's educational and technological future to remain a top manufacturing competitor."


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