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US will regain top spot from China in manufacturing by 2020, says report

The United States will regain its lead as the world’s most competitive manufacturing nation by the year 2020, according to a report by economic analyst Deloitte. 

Deloitte made its forecast after surveying the opinions of manufacturing industry executives for its 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index.

Deloitte says “executives expect the US to assume the top position before the end of the decade”. 

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Currently, Deloitte says China is the most competitive nation, followed by the US in second, Germany in third, and Japan and South Korea placed fourth and fifth respectively.

The main driver of the resurgence of the US, according to Deloitte, is advanced manufacturing technologies.

The trend towards adopting higher value, advanced manufacturing technologies are tilting the advantage to developed nations in the future, says Deloitte.

The report says: “CEOs say advanced manufacturing technologies is a key to unlocking future competitiveness. As the digital and physical worlds converge within manufacturing, executives indicate the path to manufacturing competitiveness is through advanced technologies.

“The shift to higher value, advanced manufacturing tilts the advantage to developed nations in the future. As the manufacturing industry increasingly applies more advanced and sophisticated product and process technologies and materials, traditional manufacturing powerhouses of the 20th century are back toward the very top of the 10 most competitive nations in 2016.”

Deloitte uses its own system for rating individual countries’ competitiveness in manufacturing, and below is the full list the consultancy published.

Deloitte Global CEO survey: 2016 Global manufacturing competitiveness index rankings by country

  1. China
  2. United States
  3. Germany
  4. Japan
  5. South Korea
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Taiwan
  8. Mexico
  9. Canada
  10. Singapore
  11. India
  12. Switzerland
  13. Sweden
  14. Thailand
  15. Poland
  16. Turkey
  17. Malaysia
  18. Vietnam
  19. Indonesia
  20. Netherlands
  21. Australia
  22. France
  23. Czech Republic
  24. Finland
  25. Spain
  26. Belgium
  27. South Africa
  28. Italy
  29. Brazil
  30. United Arab Emirates
  31. Ireland
  32. Russia
  33. Romania
  34. Saudi Arabia
  35. Portugal
  36. Colombia
  37. Egypt
  38. Nigeria
  39. Argentina
  40. Greece

The above is Deloitte’s own list and is, as mentioned, based on the consultancy’s own criteria. Another, similar list of major manufacturing nations, based on output is included below.

But one particularly interesting part of the Deloitte survey was a list of what CEOs said were the most important advanced manufacturing technologies, which we publish below.

  1. Predictive analytics
  2. Smart, connected products (internet of things)
  3. Advanced materials
  4. Smart factories (IoT)
  5. Digital design, simulation and integration
  6. High performance computing
  7. Advanced robotics
  8. Additive manufacturing (3D printing)
  9. Open source design / direct customer input
  10. Augmented reality (to improve quality, training, expert knowledge)
  11. Augmented reality (to increase customer service and experience)

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development statistics, the world’s leading manufacturer in 2014 – the latest available figures – was China, as shown in the list below, along with the individual country’s total manufacturing output in billions of dollars.

UN Conference on Trade and Development statistics on manufacturing output in 2014 

  1. China – 1,882
  2. United States – 1,843
  3. Japan – 1,001
  4. Germany – 680
  5. South Korea – 368
  6. India – 290
  7. France – 267
  8. Italy – 257
  9. United Kingdom – 247
  10. Taiwan – 190
  11. Mexico – 170
  12. Canada – 150
  13. Brazil – 145
  14. Russia – 140
  15. Spain – 134
  16. Turkey – 120
  17. Indonesia – 110
  18. Switzerland – 95
  19. Poland – 94
  20. Netherlands – 87

Figures in billions of dollars. 

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The combined manufactured output of the above countries accounts for around 84 per cent of total world manufacturing output, which reached a two-year high in September, according to reports quoted in

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