Year over year, Colombian import purchases accelerated by 40.5% from $43.5 billion during 2020.
Colombia’s top 5 imported products are refined petroleum oils, phone devices including smartphones, cars, medication mixes in dosage, and blood fractions including antisera. Combined, those 5 main Colombian imports attracted one-fifth (20%) of the country’s overall spending on imported products in 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Colombian peso depreciated by -26.8% against the US dollar since 2017 and declined by -1.3% from 2020 to 2021. Colombia’s weaker local currency makes its imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from the Colombian peso.
Colombia’s Largest International Suppliers
The latest available country-specific data shows that 76.9% of products imported into Colombia were supplied by exporters in: mainland China (24.2% of the global total), United States of America (23.2%), Mexico (6.2%), Brazil (5.7%), Germany (3.4%), France (2.4%), India (2.3%), Argentina (2.13%), Spain (2.11%), Japan (2.08%), Canada (1.6%) and South Korea (1.59%).
Applying a continental lens, over a third (36.7%) of Colombia’s total imports by value were purchased from Asian trade partners. North American countries supplied almost a third (31.5%) of import purchases by Colombia. Another 16.7% worth of goods originated from Europe, with 14.7% coming from exporters in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Tinier percentages of Colombian imports were furnished by Africa (0.3%) and Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Colombia’s population of 51 million people, its total $61.1 billion in 2021 imports translates to about $1,200 in yearly product demand from every person in South America’s second-most populated country. That dollar metric exceeds the average $850 per capita one year earlier in 2020.
Colombia’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Colombia’s import purchases during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Colombia.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$6.4 billion (10.5% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $6.2 billion (10.1%)
- Vehicles: $4.8 billion (7.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $3.9 billion (6.4%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $3.8 billion (6.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $3.2 billion (5.3%)
- Organic chemicals: $3.1 billion (5.0%)
- Iron, steel: $2.7 billion (4.4%)
- Cereals: $2.6 billion (4.2%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.7 billion (2.7%)
Colombia’s top 10 imports accounted for 62.7% of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported iron and steel represents the fastest grower among Colombia’s top 10 import categories, up 128.6% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place were Colombia’s imports of mineral fuels including oil via a 71% expansion propelled by higher spending on imported refined and crude petroleum oils.
Colombian imports of organic chemicals rose 64.5% compared to 2020, ahead of Colombia’s spending on imported pharmaceutical products (up 56.2%).
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under the sections below is at the more granular 4-digit level.
Colombia’s Main Imports of Electrical Products
In 2021, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical products including consumer electronics.
- Phone devices including smartphones: US$2.7 billion (up 22.3% from 2020)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $622.3 million (up 6.9%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $347.1 million (up 41.9%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $214.1 million (up 41.4%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $200.8 million (up 43.6%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $187.2 million (up 75.9%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $174.7 million (up 38.2%)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: $172.2 million (up 39.6%)
- Microphones/headphones/amps: $169.1 million (up 25.5%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $152.3 million (up 301.8%)
Among these import subcategories, Colombian purchases of solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 301.8%), electric generating sets and converters (up 75.9%) then lower-voltage switches or fuses (up 43.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Colombia’s Main Machinery Imports
In 2021, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$1.5 billion (up 25% from 2020)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $277 million (up 97.1%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $276.7 million (up 15.2%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $273.1 million (up 46.9%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $266.8 million (up 32.7%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $254.4 million (up 14.1%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $213.5 million (up 44.9%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $184.4 million (up 25.1%)
- Washing machines: $179.3 million (up 27.8%)
- Piston engine parts: $177.6 million (up 33%)
Among these import subcategories, Colombian purchases of heavy machinery such as bulldozers, excavators and road rollers (up 97.1%), air or vacuum pumps (up 46.9%) then refrigerators and freezers (up 44.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Colombia’s Main Imports of Vehicles
In 2021, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles and related products.
- Cars: US$2.3 billion (up 53.1% from 2020)
- Trucks: $865.5 million (up 66.7%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $571.9 million (up 32.6%)
- Tractors: $314.6 million (up 50.7%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $226.9 million (up 70.2%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $145.9 million (down -44.8%)
- Motorcycles: $118 million (up 58.9%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $90 million (up 71.3%)
- Trailers: $41.6 million (up 35.4%)
- Automobile bodies: $36 million (down -13.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Colombian purchases of bicycles plus other non-motorized cycles (up 71.3%), motorcycle parts or accessories (up 70.2%) then trucks (up 66.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Colombia’s Main Imports of Pharmaceutical Products
In 2021, Colombian importers spent the most on the following subcategories of pharmaceuticals.
- Medication mixes in dosage: US$1.83 billion (up 19.4% from 2020)
- Blood fractions (including antisera): $1.81 billion (up 133.4%)
- Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods: $109.9 million (up 27.4%)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: $72.5 million (up 47.8%)
- Packaged dressings: $51.1 million (up 23.2%)
- Dried organs, heparin: $38.9 million (up 102.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Colombian purchases of blood fractions including antisera (up 133.4%), dried organs and heparin (up 102.9%) then medication mixes not in dosage (up 47.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of pharmaceuticals-related imports among Colombian businesses and consumers.
See also Colombia’s Top Trading Partners, Colombia’s Top 10 Exports, Peru’s Top Trading Partners, China’s Top Trading Partners and Top US Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, Trade CentreCountry Profiles. Accessed on June 28, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 28, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 28, 2022
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Exchange Rates data (National Currency per U.S. dollar, 2000-2021). Accessed on June 28, 2022