Colombia’s Top 10 Imports

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Colombian imports amounted to US$46.1 billion in 2017, down -22.4% since 2013 but up 2.6% from 2016 to 2017.

Colombian imports represent a tiny 0.3% of total globally imported products which totaled $16.054 trillion one year earlier in 2016.

From a continental perspective, over a third (35.4%) of Colombia’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from North American trade partners. Asian countries supplied almost another third (31%) of import purchases by Colombia while 16.6% worth of goods originated from Europe. At 13.6%, a smaller percentage came from exporters in Latin America (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean.

Given Colombia’s population of 47.7 million people, its total $46.1 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $1,000 in yearly product demand from every person in South America’s second-most populated country.

Colombia’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Colombia’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Colombia.

At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Colombia’s most valuable imported products are refined petroleum oils followed by mobile phones, cars, medicines for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes, computers then corn.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$5.5 billion (11.9% of total imports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $5 billion (10.8%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $3.7 billion (8.1%)
  4. Vehicles: $3.6 billion (7.9%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: $2.2 billion (4.8%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $2.1 billion (4.6%)
  7. Organic chemicals: $2 billion (4.4%)
  8. Cereals: $1.5 billion (3.3%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.4 billion (3%)
  10. Iron, steel: $1.3 billion (2.9%)

Colombia’s top 10 imports accounted for over three-fifths (61.7%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported electrical machinery and equipment had the fastest-growing increase in value among Colombia’s top 10 import categories, up 8.9% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving import purchases was iron and steel, up 7.7%. Colombian imports of organic chemicals delivered the third-fastest gain up 6.4%.

The vehicles category was the laggard among the top 10 Colombian imports, posting a -3.7% decline.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Machinery

In 2017, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers:

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$989.6 million (down -7.1% from 2016)
  2. Liquid pumps and elevators: $269.6 million (up 15.2%)
  3. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $235.1 million (up 3.4%)
  4. Printing machinery: $229.7 million (down -0.4%)
  5. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $217 million (up 5.3%)
  6. Air or vacuum pumps: $206.4 million (down -4.1%)
  7. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $200.2 million (up 24.7%)
  8. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $188.8 million (up 24.9%)
  9. Piston engine parts: $185.8 million (up 18.9%)
  10. Refrigerators, freezers: $153.2 million (down -4.8%)

Among these import subcategories, Colombia’s purchases of heavy machinery (up 24.9%), transmission shafts, gears and clutches (up 24.7%) and piston engine parts (up 18.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery-related imports among Colombian businesses and consumers.

Electronics

In 2017, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical products including consumer electronics:

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$2.1 billion (up 16.7% from 2016)
  2. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $630.9 million (up 11.3%)
  3. Insulated wire/cable: $244.2 million (up 3.5%)
  4. Electrical converters/power units: $169.6 million (up 0.4%)
  5. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $155.8 million (up 5.7%)
  6. Unrecorded sound media: $110.1 million (down -7.9%)
  7. Electric motors, generators: $107.8 million (up 22.2%)
  8. Electric generating sets, converters: $104.5 million (down -32.6%)
  9. Microphones/headphones/amps: $101.3 million (up 5.2%)
  10. Electric storage batteries: $96.7 million (up 5.3%)

Among these import subcategories, Colombia’s purchases of electric motors or generators (up 22.2%), phone system devices including smartphones (up 16.7%) and TV receivers, monitors or projectors (up 11.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electronics-related imports among Colombian businesses and consumers.

Fuel

In 2017, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products:

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$3.6 billion (down -2.4% from 2016)
  2. Petroleum gases: $46.3 million (up 41.8%)
  3. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $23.3 million (down -15.9%)
  4. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $13.3 million (down -16.7%)
  5. Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $7.4 million (up 152.3%)
  6. Peat: $2.4 million (down -3.4%)
  7. Electrical energy: $1.9 million (down -94.9%)
  8. Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $853,000 (up 48.1%)
  9. Petroleum oil residues: $767,000 (down -1.7%)
  10. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $236,000 (up 44.8%)

Among these import subcategories, Colombia’s purchases of natural bitumen, asphalt or shale (up 152.3%), asphalt or petroleum bitumen mixes (up 48.1%) and coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 44.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Colombian businesses and consumers.

Vehicles

In 2017, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles and related products:

  1. Cars: US$2 billion (down -3.6% from 2016)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $638 million (up 12.9%)
  3. Trucks: $543.1 million (down -4.3%)
  4. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $124.7 million (up 0.9%)
  5. Tractors: $59.8 million (up 26.9%)
  6. Chassis fitted with engine: $54.2 million (down -41.9%)
  7. Motorcycles: $49.8 million (down -23.1%)
  8. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $41.7 million (up 31.1%)
  9. Special purpose vehicles: $37.6 million (down -41.9%)
  10. Trailers: $28.2 million (up 21.7%)

Among these import subcategories, Colombia’s purchases of bicycles or other non-motorized cycles (up 31.1%), tractors (up 26.9%) and trailers (up 21.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Colombian businesses and consumers.



 
See also Colombia’s Top Trading Partners and Colombia’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 6, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 6, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 6, 2018