From a continental perspective, 35.5% of Colombia’s exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 26.2% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Colombia shipped another 20.8% worth of goods to Asia and 13.9% to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (0.6%) and Oceania led by Australia (0.5%).
Colombia’s Top 15 Trading Partners
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 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Colombian exports.
- United States: US$10.6 billion (24.5% of total Colombian exports)
- China: $10.4 billion (23.9%)
- Mexico: $2.9 billion (6.7%)
- Brazil: $2.4 billion (5.6%)
- Germany: $1.6 billion (3.8%)
- France: $958.5 million (2.2%)
- India: $937 million (2.2%)
- Japan: $879.1 million (2%)
- Spain: $798.1 million (1.8%)
- Ecuador: $789.9 million (1.8%)
- Canada: $751.1 million (1.7%)
- Argentina: $724.5 million (1.7%)
- Peru: $680.9 million (1.6%)
- Italy: $679.2 million (1.6%)
- South Korea: $676.4 million (1.6%)
Over four-fifths (82.6%) of Colombian exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
South Korea was the only top importer that increased its purchases of goods exported from Colombia from 2019 to 2020, up in value by 3%. Among the other 14 countries, declines ranged from a minimum of -0.8% for China up to -28.2% for France.
Colombia incurred an overall -$12.4 billion trade deficit during 2020, up 14% from the -$10.9 billion in red ink one year earlier.
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 top trade partners.
- China: -US$7.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- Mexico: -$1.8 billion
- United States: -$1.19 billion
- Brazil: -$1.16 billion
- Germany: -$1.15 billion
- France: -$815.3 million
- Vietnam: -$604.3 million
- Argentina: -$513.4 million
- Japan: -$476.7 million
- Canada: -$336.5 million
Among Colombia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Colombian deficits with United States (up 110.2%), China (up 30.6%) and Vietnam (up 2.4%) expanded from 2019 to 2020.
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.
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 top trade partners.
- Panama: US$1.5 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- Ecuador: $683.7 million
- Turkey: $657.2 million
- Netherlands: $448 million
- Guatemala: $282.9 million
- Italy: $282.1 million
- Saint Lucia: $256.3 million
- Israel: $220.5 million
- Dominican Republic: $216.3 million
- Belgium: $187.3 million
Colombia’s trade with Italy went from a -$10.4 million deficit in 2019 to a $282.1 million surplus in 2020.
Among Colombia’s other trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Colombian surpluses with Belgium (down -12.1%), Guatemala down -21.3%) and Israel (down -21.7%) declined at the slowest pace from 2019 to 2020.
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 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 and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, The World Factbook. Accessed on March 14, 2021
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 14, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 14, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Colombia. Accessed on March 14, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 14, 2021