The least—and most—risky places for US firms to get stuff made

As the world becomes more interconnected and businesses expand their supply chains far beyond their home countries, things can get risky. But some places are much more risky to supply chains than others.

People attend Dutch National Tulip Day in front of the Royal Palace at Dam Square, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Michel Porro | Getty Images
People attend Dutch National Tulip Day in front of the Royal Palace at Dam Square, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

FM Global, a Rhode Island-based mutual insurance company, on Tuesday released a study naming the countries that present the least risk and most risk to international businesses' supply chains. The study considered several criteria, including countries' gross domestic product, government stability and infrastructure quality, among other factors.

Countries with the least amount of risk to businesses included Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the study found. "When you look at Norway, it is a very modern European economy, it has a steady oil supply, [and] it's considered to be a well-run country," said Jonathan W. Hall, FM Global's chief operating officer.

But some non-Western nations also scored well. Qatar, on the Persian Gulf, made the top 10. "Qatar actually benefits from a very strong economy and strong security," Hall said, noting that the troubling news that comes out of the Middle East almost always occurs outside Qatar. The country also cracked the top ten due to "a considerable improvement in commitment to fire risk management in the region," the report said.

ON the flip side, Venezuela, saddled with an unstable economy, high inflation, huge public debt and "malfunctioning markets," presents the globe's highest risk for businesses, the study said.

Collectively, the United States presents a reasonably low risk for businesses, as it boasts a strong economy, good infrastructure quality and high political stability, Hall said.

Because of its size and varied exposure to natural hazards from region to region, the study scored the United States in three different parts: East, West and Central.

What about the U.S.?

The Central region presents the least amount of risk for businesses because it doesn't face many of the natural hazards that the East or West regions face, Hall added.

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Businesses in the West have to deal with earthquakes and droughts, while East coast businesses can encounter hurricanes and winter storms, Hall said.

This past winter, businesses across the Northeast had to deal with abnormally low temperatures and numerous snowstorms. In fact, Boston was hit with over 110 inches of snow, a new record, according to The Weather Channel.