Colombia’s Top Trading Partners

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Colombia shipped US$31 billion worth of products around the globe in 2016. That figure represents roughly 0.2% of overall global exports estimated at $16.236 trillion one year earlier in 2015.

From a continental perspective, $11.4 billion in products or 36.9% of Colombian exports by value were delivered to North American trade partners while 29.1% were sold to Latin American (excluding Mexico) and Caribbean importers.

Colombia shipped another 18.3% worth of goods to Europe with 12% delivered to customers in Asia.

Colombia’s Top 15 Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Colombia’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, countries that imported the most Colombian shipments by dollar value during 2016. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Colombian exports.

  1. United States: US$10.1 billion (32.7% of total Colombian exports)
  2. Panama: $1.9 billion (6.2%)
  3. Netherlands: $1.2 billion (3.9%)
  4. Ecuador: $1.2 billion (3.9%)
  5. Spain: $1.2 billion (3.7%)
  6. China: $1.1 billion (3.6%)
  7. Peru: $1.1 billion (3.4%)
  8. Brazil: $994.9 million (3.2%)
  9. Mexico: $936.9 million (3%)
  10. Turkey: $761.3 million (2.5%)
  11. Chile: $670 million (2.2%)
  12. Venezuela: $613.9 million (2%)
  13. United Kingdom: $481.9 million (1.6%)
  14. Germany: $475.9 million (1.5%)
  15. Belgium: $451 million (1.5%)

Almost three-fifths (74.7%) of Colombian exports in 2016 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Panama increased its import purchases from Colombia by the highest percentage, up 517.8% from 2009 to 2016. In second place was Spain with its 140.1% gain followed by Turkey up 130% and Mexico up 74.9%.

Venezuela cut back on its purchases from Colombia the most, down by -84.8%. United Kingdom reduced its Colombian imports by -35.5% followed by United States down -22.9%.

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports. Overall, Colombia incurred a -$13.9 billion trade deficit up from -$44.7 million in 2009.

In 2016, Colombia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: -US$7.5 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2016)
  2. Mexico: -$2.5 billion
  3. United States: -$1.8 billion
  4. Germany: -$1.2 billion
  5. Brazil: -$1.1 billion
  6. India: -$720.3 million
  7. Japan: -$688 million
  8. France: -$657.9 million
  9. Colombia: -$599.9 million
  10. South Korea: -$486.8 million

Among Colombia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, the fastest-growing country-specific deficits from 2009 to 2016: India (up 1,217%), China (up 172.1%), Japan (up 40.7%) and Mexico (up 40.4%).

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Colombia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Colombia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

In 2016, Colombia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Panama: US$1.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2016)
  2. Netherlands: $895.1 million
  3. Turkey: $524.2 million
  4. Venezuela: $424.1 million
  5. Ecuador: $394.9 million
  6. Peru: $369.8 million
  7. Aruba: $321.7 million
  8. Bahamas: $291.4 million
  9. Belgium: $249.1 million
  10. Dominican Republic: $245.6 million

Among Colombia’s trading partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Colombian surpluses with the Bahamas (up 12,013%), Aruba (up 7,710%), Panama (up 1,161%) and Peru (up 124.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Colombia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Colombia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Colombian Trading Partners

Six Colombian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015. The following companies are selected examples of international trade companies headquartered in Colombia:

  • Ecopetrol (fuel, petrochemicals)
  • Grupo Argos (construction materials)

Wikipedia also lists exporters from Colombia. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Alpina Productos Alimenticios (dairy products)
  • Organizacion Corona (ceramics)
  • Auteco (vehicles)
  • Manuelita (sugar, fruits, vegetables)
  • Ospina Coffee Company (coffee)


 

See also Colombia’s Top 10 Exports, Sweden’s Top 10 Exports, Highest Value Japanese Export Products and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 5, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 5, 2017

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 5, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Colombia. Accessed on March 5, 2017

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The