Year over year, Colombian import purchases increased by 26.7% from $61.1 billion during 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the Colombian peso depreciated by -44% against the US dollar since 2018 and fell by -13.7% from 2021 to 2022. 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 78.6% of products imported into Colombia were supplied by exporters in: United States of America (24.5% of the Colombian total), mainland China (24.2%), Brazil (7.1%), Mexico (5.4%), France (3.2%), Germany (3%), India (2.2%), Argentina (2.1%), Spain (1.9%), Japan (1.85%), Italy (1.6%) and Canada (1.5%).
Applying a continental lens, over a third (35.4%) of Colombia’s total imports by value were purchased from Asian trade partners. North American countries satisfied almost a third (31.9%) of import purchases by Colombia. Another 16.4% worth of goods originated from Europe, with 15.9% coming from exporters in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Tinier percentages of Colombian imports were furnished by suppliers in Africa (0.3%) and Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Colombia’s population of 51.6 million people, its total $77.4 billion in 2022 imports translates to some $1,500 in yearly product demand from every person in South America’s second-most populated country. That dollar metric exceeds the average $1,200 per capita one year earlier in 2021.
Colombia’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Colombia’s import purchases during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Colombia.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$7.9 billion (10.2% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $7.6 billion (9.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $7.4 billion (9.5%)
- Vehicles: $6.4 billion (8.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $3.9 billion (5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $3.5 billion (4.5%)
- Cereals: $3.3 billion (4.3%)
- Organic chemicals: $3.2 billion (4.2%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $2.5 billion (3.2%)
- Iron, steel: $2.5 billion (3.2%)
Colombia’s top 10 imports accounted for 62.4% of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Mineral fuels including oil represent the fastest grower among Colombia’s top 10 import categories, up 95.9% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place were Colombia’s imports under the aircraft or spacecraft product category via an 82.4% expansion.
Colombian imports of vehicles rose 33% compared to 2021, ahead of Colombia’s spending on imported cereals (up 29.4%).
The severest decliner year over year was the pharmaceuticals grouping, dropping by -10.3%.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented below is at the more granular 4-digit level.
At the more detailed level, Colombia’s top 10 imported products are refined petroleum oils (8.8% of the Colombian total), phone devices including smartphones (3.8%), cars (3.5%), aircraft or spacecraft (3%), corn (2.8%), medication mixes in dosage (2.6%), computers including optical readers (2.1%), trucks (1.7%), blood fractions including antisera (1.6%), and solid residues including soya-bean oilcake (1.2%).
Combined, those 10 major Colombian imports attracted over one-fifth (21.9%) of the country’s overall spending on imported products in 2022.
Colombia’s Main Imports of Electrical Products
In 2022, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical products including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$3 billion (up 8.9% from 2021)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $674.7 million (up 260.4%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $636.2 million (up 2.2%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $485 million (up 39.7%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $359.2 million (up 135.8%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $292 million (up 36.4%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $228.2 million (up 13.6%)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: $206.6 million (up 20%)
- Microphones/headphones/amps: $194 million (up 14.7%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $187.3 million (up 7.2%)
Among these import subcategories, Colombian purchases of electric generating sets and converters (up 260.4%), solar power diodes or semi-conductors (up 135.8%), then insulated wire and cable (up 39.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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 2022, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$1.6 billion (up 7.9% from 2021)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $397.8 million (up 43.6%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $325.2 million (up 27.8%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $315.5 million (up 14%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $314.7 million (up 18%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $291 million (up 6.5%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $269.7 million (up 89.9%)
- Piston engine parts: $248.8 million (up 40.1%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $245 million (up 32.9%)
- Piston engines: $225.3 million (up 32.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Colombian purchases of miscellaneous machinery (up 89.9%), heavy machinery such as bulldozers, excavators and road rollers (up 43.6%), then piston engine parts (up 40.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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 Fuels
In 2022, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels including oil.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$6.8 billion (up 94% from 2021)
- Crude oil: $327.4 million (up 118.8%)
- Petroleum gases: $153.7 million (up 197.8%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $48.4 million (up 100.9%)
- Electrical energy: $12.1 million (up 64.6%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $6.3 million (down -39.5%)
- Peat: $5.6 million (up 48%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $2.5 million (up 25.1%)
- Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $1.2 million (up 131.3%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $1.2 million (up 30.7%)
Among these import subcategories, Colombian purchases of petroleum gases (up 197.8%), natural bitumen, asphalt and shale (up 131.3%), then crude oil (up 118.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels including oil imports among Colombian businesses and consumers.
Colombia’s Main Imports of Vehicles
In 2022, Colombian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles and related products.
- Cars: US$2.7 billion (up 15% from 2021)
- Trucks: $1.3 billion (up 55.5%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $808.1 million (up 41.3%)
- Tractors: $655.7 million (up 108.4%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $205.7 million (down -9.4%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $174.8 million (up 19.9%)
- Motorcycles: $169 million (up 43.2%)
- Chassis fitted with engine: $105.3 million (up 355.4%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $72.2 million (down -19.8%)
- Armored vehicles, tanks: $56 million (up 192.8%)
Among these import subcategories, Colombian purchases of chassis fitted with engine (up 355.4%), armored vehicles including tanks (up 192.8%), then tractors (up 108.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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, 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 May 16, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 16, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 16, 2023
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Exchange Rates data (National Currency per U.S. dollar, 2000-2022). Accessed on May 16, 2023