Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Time to dive into some insightful manufacturing data!

It’s World Cup time!

The U.S. Men's National Team might not have qualified for the big tournament this year, but there’s still plenty of excitement in our ranks about the 2018 FIFA World Cup. And since we are all nerds serious policy wonks here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, we got to wondering which of the 32 teams that qualified for this year’s tourney are also manufacturing powerhouses.

We’ve ranked each nation below according to how much manufacturing matters to their economy, calculated as the value added as a percentage of each nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Feel free to pull some of these stats out at your next World Cup watch party.

  1. South Korea: 29 percent of GDP
    The economy of South Korea is the fourth largest in Asia and the 11th largest in the world, and manufacturing drives much of that success. South Korea is a world leader in shipbuilding and the automotive industry, and is home to major companies like Samsung and Hyundai.
  2. Germany: 23 percent of GDP
    Germany is often heralded as a leader in advanced manufacturing, and is widely known for homegrown companies like BMW and Volkswagen. This isn’t a coincidence. As NPR explained earlier this year, Germany has put into place a financial and institutional structure that helps the sector thrive.
  3. Japan: 21 percent of GDP
    The Japanese rebuilt their economy after World War II by building a reputation for running a manufacturing sector known for its high quality and efficiency. While recent scandals have plagued several top companies in recent years, Japan continues to be a global manufacturing leader.
  4. Poland: 20 percent of GDP
    For years, Poland was known for contract manufacturing, but in recent years has developed its own homegrown sector. Its manufacturing industry is stronger than the European Union average, and the auto industry alone accounts for 8 percent of its GDP and 13 percent of its exports.
  5. Serbia: 19 percent of GDP
    Hit hard after the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, followed by sanctions and war, Serbia is now on the rebound in part thanks to its growing manufacturing sector. Many multinational companies, including iconic Western European brands like Fiat, now build their products in Serbia.
  6. Mexico: 19 percent of GDP
    Our neighbors to the South (and NAFTA partners — at least for the time being) maintain a strong manufacturing base. There’s no doubt that Mexico’s proximity to the United States helps, as factories there build products that are then sold up north. But Mexico’s trade relationship with the U.S. also has created controversy, like when Carrier sent much of its Indiana production to Mexico.
  7. Switzerland: 18 percent of GDP
    The tiny European country is known for its financial industry, but it also maintains a strong manufacturing sector because of its commitment to innovation. Switzerland is also home to a robust pharmaceutical industry.
  8. Morocco: 18 percent of GDP
    The North African nation has made a name for itself as a manufacturing hub. It benefits from its geography, as it provides manufacturers with easy access to European, African and Middle Eastern markets. Companies like Renault, Dell, Bombardier, and Delphi all maintain a factory presence there.
  9. Egypt: 17 percent of GDP
    After securing a long-term trade and aid agreement with the Soviet Union in 1964, Egypt developed a heavily industrial base that included iron and steel complexes along with aluminum and ammonium plants. While the state still owned much of these operations by start the 21st century, Egypt did see growth in private sector manufacturing, including chemicals, texiles, and paper products.
  10. Tunisia: 17 percent of GDP
    Political instability in recent years has weakened Tunisia’s manufacturing industry, although it continues to benefit from its proximity to European markets and low labor costs. The country is home to sectors such as textiles, agri-business, pharmaceuticals, and mechanical industries.

The Rest:

  1. Argentina: 16.4 percent of GDP
  2. Denmark: 15.3 percent of GDP
  3. Sweden: 15.3 percent of GDP
  4. Croatia: 14.8 percent of GDP
  5. Uruguay: 14.4 percent of GDP
  6. Spain: 14.2 percent of GDP
  7. Belgium: 14 percent of GDP
  8. Portugal: 14 percent of GDP
  9. Peru: 14 percent of GDP
  10. Russia: 13.7 percent of GDP
  11. Costa Rica: 13 percent of GDP
  12. Colombia: 13 percent of GDP
  13. Saudi Arabia: 12.9 percent of GDP
  14. Iran: 12.3 percent of GDP
  15. Brazil: 12 percent of GDP
  16. France: 11.4 percent of GDP
  17. Iceland: 10.6 percent of GDP
  18. England (United Kingdom): 10 percent of GDP
  19. Nigeria: 8.8 percent of GDP
  20. Australia: 6.6 percent of GDP
  21. Panama: 5 percent of GDP
  22. Senegal: 1.8 percent of GDP

Source: World Bank/OECD 2016 figures.

Dalia Batuuka and Ian Harrison contributed to this report.