Colombia - Export Britain

Export Britain


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Bogotá, D.C.

Largest city
Bogotá, D.C.

Administrative divisions
32 departments

Peso (COP)

1,141,748 km2

47,072,915 (2012)

Calling code

Official language

Latest Business Opportunities

See more opportunities for Colombia.

Ease of trading across borders

Importing a standard container of goods into Colombia requires:



Colombia's consistently sound economic policies and aggressive promotion of free trade agreements in recent years has helped GDP grow more than 4% per year for the past three years. Colombia depends heavily on oil exports, making it vulnerable to a drop in oil prices. Principal trading partners are the United States, the European Union, Venezuela and China. Columbia has signed or is negotiating FTAs with a number of other countries, including Canada, Chile, Mexico, Switzerland, the EU, Venezuela, South Korea, Turkey, Japan, and Israel. Although Colombia still faces challenges, including infrastructure deficiencies and income inequality, the country of 46 million boasts a growing economy with investment grade status and a rising middle class.

Economic snapshot (% annual growth rate)

GDP 6.6 4.0 3.9
Export of goods and services 12.9 5.3 3.1
Import of goods and services 21.2 8.0 4.3
Inflation 3.4 3.2 3.0
Short-term interest rates (%) - - -
Exchange rate (per £) - - -
Population 1.3 1.3 1.2
Unit labour cost - - -
Source: Oxford Economics -

Economic outlook

Colombia’s economy picked up speed from Q1; with the central bank recently estimating growth was around 3.4% in Q2, based on rising output of oil, minerals and coffee. Consumer confidence and retail sales also improved in the period. The economy was affected by falling oil prices in the first half of the year, but will be supported by an increase in government spending. Steady progress is expected for the rest of the year with growth of 3.2% forecasted for this year and 4% in 2014. 

Trade outlook

Colombian exports have grown rapidly in recent years, boosted by a combination of more external markets and significant increases in the sales of raw materials such as oil and coal. Furthermore, measures taken by Colombia in foreign trade, through free-trade agreements concluded in the past and being negotiated now, are steps in the right direction. Latin America and the Caribbean are prominent trade partners, with the US, Spain and Portugal also featuring highly.

SWOT analysis

Sound financial policies
Oil exports
Vulnerability to international commodity prices
Free trade agreements
Poor infrastructure

Colombia's trade with the UK

Sector segmentation growth

Sectors to watch:
  • Utilities
  • Food
  • coke & refined petroleum products


  • casting, medical & surgical equipment
  • ships, rolling stock

Fastest-growing exporters into Colombia

1 Bahamas
2 Chile
3 US
4 Spain
5 Brazil
6 Netherlands
7 Portugal
8 Argentina
9 Malaysia
10 Turkey

Total merchandise trade - Leading import partners

Total merchandise trade - leading import partners
Opportunities for UK businesses

Given Colombia’s expanding energy sector and a number of major infrastructure projects coming on line, many opportunities exist for UK businesses. Colombia has more than doubled its spending on transportation infrastructure from $1.6 billion in 2010 to $3.3 billion in 2012, and aims to reach three percent of GDP, or approximately $10 billion, by 2014.  A broader infrastructure development program over the next several years will create enormous opportunities for companies involved in the construction highways, ports, and airports.

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