Columbia Deserves More Recognition for Manufacturing Than for Sofia Vergara

Columbian manufacturing

Known best for Sofia Vergara and their agricultural exports, Colombia is rarely recognized for their strength in manufacturing. However, with fifteen free trade agreements and an ideal port location, Colombia boasts competitive prices, skilled labor, and governmental support for foreign investment in manufacturing.

Global Fashion Impact

Textiles are positioning Colombian fashion as a World Class Industry. Thanks to the Productive Transformation Program, a government entity that works with the private sector to promote Colombian competitiveness and production, Colombia is the world’s third market for highest growth rate in the textile and fashion industry. What started as high-quality corduroy in Medellin has turned the world upside down. Textile imports have grown  15% between 2010 and 2014 to supply growing requirements of the local market and exporting to the United States, Mexico, and Ecuador.

Motorcycles and other Autos

As with many countries in Latin America, motorcycles are a staple in Colombia. They use less gas than other vehicles, are more affordable, and are perfect for weaving through city traffic. Colombia is home to 7 motorcycle plants, and motorcycle production continues to grow on an average of 16% since 2010.

Colombia does not just produce motos; they are also a large vehicle producer in Latin America with more than 130 thousand units per year. Cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs–increased financial stability and the growth of the middle class across Latin America fuel this growing manufacturing industry. Chevy, Hyundai, Kia, Renault, and even Ford have plants there. The primary importers of Colombian automotive products are Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile.

Constructing the Future

The construction industry in Colombia has grown more than any other sector; this includes the construction materials for buildings and civil works. With a recent increase in housing and infrastructure programs as well as political pressure to build roads and renovate ports and airports, we can only expect it to continue to grow.

Colombia’s construction industry is the third largest in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico. The United States, Venezuela, and Panama account for 59.5% of building material exports. The industry is expected to double in value by 2020 and reach US$ 52 billion. Top products include cement, non-metallic minerals, and plaster.

The Driving Force in Cosmetics

As a number five market for cosmetics and toiletries in Latin America, more than 300 companies including Kimberly-Clark, P&G, Unilever, and Avon, produce and package the products here. As another sector overseen by The Productive Transformation Program, the government and private sectors work together to position Colombia as a world leader in the export of cosmetics and toiletries. Now, Colombian cosmetics represent more than 10% of total Latin American exports.

Women are driving this industry. The percentage of female managers here exceed that of Canada, UK, Germany, Japan, and France. Moreover, the cosmetics industry is the second largest female labor market in the region. In the last few years, they have seen a 37% increase in the female workforce compared to 16% growth worldwide.

Biodiversity and Social Progress

As home to the Amazon Rainforest and three mountain ranges, Colombia is rich in natural resources. They have a temperate climate and ports in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. But it is not just rich in biodiversity. It’s also rich in forward moving politics. Their government focuses on strong trade agreements and competitive quality products. And Colombia has made great strides in equal opportunities for women. They are not just exporting women for TV shows; they are making beautiful progress for the world.

 

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Manufacturing in Poland is On the Rise and Attractive to Investors

global manufacturing Poland

Although Poland had difficulty transitioning from a communist state-run economy to a western privatized economy in the 1990s, Poland today is fighting hard to compete in the global manufacturing market. In 2015, manufacturing held 19.32% of the share of employment in Poland. Combined with a rapidly growing economy, as well as recent legislation to promote economic growth, Poland is becoming a manufacturing leader.

Fall of Communism

After the fall of communism, Poland found itself in an awkward position. Despite having an abundance of natural resources and an infrastructure to produce consumer goods, other more commercial items were lacking. Polish officials relied on grants from the International Monetary Fund to restart its economy in a more capitalistic fashion to become as attractive to foreign investment as possible.

Financial Incentives

In 1994, the advent of the Polish Special Economic Zones created substantial incentive to start a manufacturing business in Poland. Poland provides corporate tax exemptions and preferential conditions for corporations that operate in certain regions. Since their beginnings, Polish Special Economic Zones have attracted many investors, and have allowed high-profit margins for the companies operating within them. In addition to providing jobs for Poland’s massive skilled and unskilled labor force, they have revitalized communities that would otherwise still be struggling to regain economic stability after the fall of communism.

Polish leaders have not stopped at simply providing special conditions to new start-up companies. On July 2nd, 2011, the Act on Freedom of Economic Activity was passed. This bill simplifies the procedure for establishing a new company in Poland by reducing start-up fees and waiting periods. This act, combined with the Polish Special Economic Zones and the proximity of Poland to Europe and Russia makes Poland a very attractive country for new investors looking to start manufacturing companies.

Manufacturing Resurgence

Manufacturing saw a resurgence in Poland in February of 2016. Despite economists predicting a drop in the country’s PMI, Poland’s PMI saw an increase. Economists attribute this growth to increased employment and exports. Poland’s workforce is also attractive to new investors, especially in the manufacturing industry. Worker wages, are on average, less than half that of Germany’s in comparable jobs. Additionally, there’s a skilled workforce, which is ideal for manufacturing jobs.

Manufacturing Future

What is the future of manufacturing in Poland? Due to the imminent termination of the Special Economic Zone program, an influx of investors are expected to take action before that occurs. Due to a strong presence in the electronics market (Poland makes about 35% of televisions sold in Europe) and the increasing number of exports, Poland’s manufacturing industry is only expected to grow from here. According to the Global Economic Prospects report, economic growth in Poland will increase by 3.1%, up to half a percent higher than last year. Although economists are wary of how the US political climate will affect future growth, it is safe to remain cautiously optimistic.

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The Czech Republic Has Been a Manufacturing Industry Leader for Decades

Czech Republic flag

When the Austro-Hungarian empire split up, Czechoslovakia became an independent nation and immediately established itself as a manufacturing industry world leader. Today, manufacturing is still paramount to the Czech Republic. Nearly 40% of all working citizens have jobs in the industry, and manufacturing comprises 35% of the Czech economy.

With a centralized location in Europe, excellent transportation infrastructure, a wealth of natural resources, and trade agreements linking the East and West, it is no wonder Czech Manufacturing attracts a lot of direct foreign investment. It’s the perfect trading buddy for Germany, Russia, and the rest of Europe.

Mining:

Before we can talk about any other manufacturing industry sector, we must pay homage to the resources that make it all possible. The Czech lands have a wealth of natural resources, mostly including raw mineral deposits. Unfortunately, Iron ore must be imported. However, black coal and limestone mines in the Ostrava region make manufacturing in the homelands cheaper and easier. Leading mining companies include Arcelor Mittal, Evraz Vítkovice Steel, and Třinecké.

Automotive:

As with much of central Europe, the most important sector in Czech Republic manufacturing is the automotive industry. More the 50% of all Czech exports are automotive products, and the industry employs more than 120 thousand people. The largest producers of automobiles in the region are Škoda Auto (Volkswagen group) TPCA (Toyota/PSA joint venture) and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech.

Chemicals:

The Czech chemical sector consists of various niches including basic chemistry, crude oil processing, pharmaceuticals, rubber production and plastics. Since chemical production requires raw materials, water and energy sources, and qualified human’s resources, the chemical industry is often considered an economic indicator. With these ingredients in place, chemical manufacturing dominates the northern Bohemia region, along the Morava River. Major contributors include Chemopetrol Litvínov, Paramo Pardubice, (Petrochemical production) Spolana Neratovice, Lovochema Lovosice, (Basic Chemicals), Kaučuk Kralupy nad Vltavou, and Barum Otrokovice (Rubber industry).

Barriers:

Despite having such an excellent infrastructure and capacity for manufacturing, foreign investors and workers still have difficulty breaking into the Czech market. This is partially due to the language. Although English is widely spoken in business, the saturation of English speakers is considerably lower in the Czech Republic than other European nations. Moreover, Czech is a considerably difficult language to learn.

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