Facts on export to Colombia

The Colombian population of 47.8 million are a diverse mix of ethnicity, almost half of which live below the poverty line. The average family income in Colombia amounts to $692 per month. The UN reports that Colombian cities are the worst affected in Latin America in terms of inequality, and the situation is worsening. This is largely due to the poor labour productivity, employment and lack of education and training.

What do we know about Colombian customers?

It has been said that the Colombian economy is predominantly run by monopolies that block funds from infiltrating into the middle class and poorer sections of society. Migration from the rural areas to the urban sectors caused an influx of people moving to the bigger cities of Cali, Bogota, Medellin and Barranquilla resulting in 75.3% of the population becoming urbanized.

Even though income disparities still exist in Colombian society, there has been a major surge in income and purchase power. The younger segment is aware and aspirational, vying for hi-tech products imported from other countries, despite the premium pricing. Trade freedom and consumerism is encouraging Colombians to achieve their dreams, which is a promising sign for potential importers.

What are Colombia’s business cities?

Colombian cities that rank high in ease of doing business include Manizales, Ibague, Bogota, Armenia and Pereira among others.

What do people import in Colombia?

Commodity Worth USD Percentage of total exports
Machines, engines, pumps 8.2 billion 12.8
Oil 7.6 billion 11.8
Electronic equipment 6.6 billion 10.4
Vehicles 6.2 billion 9.7
Plastics 2.7 billion 4.2

From 2010 to 2014, Colombia raised the worth of imported products by 57.5%

Who are Colombia’s top Import partners?

  • United States (25%)
  • China (17%)
  • Mexico (11%)
  • Brazil (5.1%)

What are the major ports of Colombia?

Major ports:

  • Barranquilla
  • Cartagena
  • Santa Maria
  • Buenaventura

Major airports:

  • El Eden International Airport (Armenia/La Tebaidi)
  • Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport (Barranquilla/Soledad)
  • El Dorado International Airport (Bogota)
  • Palonegro International Airport (Bucaramunga/ Lebrija)
  • Alfonso Bonilla Aragon International Airport (Cali/Palmira)

What are the customs and tariffs regulations in Colombia?

  • The following documents are required in order to import a product into Colombia
  • Customs Import Declaration
  • Manifest
  • Declaration of dutiable value
  • Commercial invoice
  • Proforma invoice
  • Packing list
  • Certificate of origin
  • Air/sea waybill
  • Bill of lading
  • Single tax register of importer

What are the Colombian tariffs and taxes?

Import tax and duty are largely based on the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of the product being imported. Import costs are also subject to sales tax, customs processing fee and sometimes, excise.

The highest duties are levied on automobiles which cost 35% duty, beef and rice subject to 80% duty and milk and cream are charged 98% duty. All other products such as industrial or manufactured goods cost duties from 0% to 20%.

What is the distribution structure in Colombia?

Colombia offers various distribution methods. Businesses can go through traditional wholesalers, who distribute goods to traditional shops. Additionally, they can opt for distributing through department stores and hypermarkets.

Knowledge of the customer base, major gateways, legal matters as well as the distribution structure will be beneficial to your expansion. In doing export to Colombia, having a local partner will help you navigate around the country’s market and ensure optimal results for your strategies.

This entry in America was updated on 21 May 2021 by specialist.