Colombia’s Top Trading Partners

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Found in South America’s northwestern region, the Republic Colombia shipped US$37.8 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That dollar figure represents roughly 0.2% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier in 2016.

From a continental perspective, just over a third (34.5%) of overall Colombian exports by value were delivered to North American countries. Almost another third (31.1%) were sold to importers in Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean importers.

Colombia shipped another 15.9% worth of goods to Europe with 15.7% delivered to customers in Asia. Just 0.4% arrived in Africa.

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 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Colombian exports.

  1. United States: US$11 billion (29.1% of total Colombian exports)
  2. Panama: $2.7 billion (7.1%)
  3. China: $2 billion (5.3%)
  4. Netherlands: $1.5 billion (4.1%)
  5. Mexico: $1.5 billion (4.1%)
  6. Ecuador: $1.5 billion (3.9%)
  7. Turkey: $1.4 billion (3.7%)
  8. Brazil: $1.4 billion (3.6%)
  9. Peru: $1.1 billion (2.9%)
  10. Chile: $1 billion (2.7%)
  11. Spain: $975 million (2.6%)
  12. Bahamas: $797.1 million (2.1%)
  13. Saint Lucia: $618.8 million (1.6%)
  14. Japan: $557.4 million (1.5%)
  15. Canada: $526.3 million (1.4%)

About three-quarters (75.8%) of Colombian exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Spain was the only top importer that decreased its purchases from Colombia over 2013 to 2017, down in value by -15.9%. Among the other 14 countries, gains ranged from a minimum of 5.9% for Peru up to 772.8% for Saint Lucia.

Deficits

Overall Colombia incurred a -$8.3 billion trade for 2017 deficit down by -40.3% from -$13.9 billion during 2016.

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.

Colombia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: -US$6.8 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Mexico: -$1.9 billion
  3. Germany: -$1.4 billion
  4. United States: -$1.1 billion
  5. Brazil: -$922.5 million
  6. India: -$762.4 million
  7. France: -$727 million
  8. Japan: -$673.9 million
  9. Vietnam: -$529.1 million
  10. Colombia: -$362.6 million

Among Colombia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Colombian deficits with Vietnam (up 14.7%), Germany (up 13.7%) and France (up 10.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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.

Colombia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Panama: US$2.6 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. Netherlands: $1.3 billion
  3. Turkey: $1.2 billion
  4. Bahamas: $797.1 million
  5. Ecuador: $749.7 million
  6. Saint Lucia: $618.8 million
  7. Peru: $451.2 million
  8. Chile: $342.1 million
  9. Portugal: $330.6 million
  10. Dominican Republic: $299.8 million

Colombia went from -$51 million in red ink trading with Chile during 2016 to a $342.1 million surplus in 2017. Among Colombia’s other trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Colombian surpluses with Saint Lucia (up 1,474%), Bahamas (up 173.5%) and Portugal (up 168.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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. 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)
  • Auteco (vehicles)
  • Manuelita (sugar, fruits, vegetables)
  • Organizacion Corona (ceramics)
  • Ospina Coffee Company (coffee)


 

See also Colombia’s Top 10 Exports, Colombia’s Top 10 Imports, 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, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 5, 2018

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 5, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Colombia. Accessed on March 5, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The