That dollar amount reflects a 7.2% increase from the $37.8 billion in Colombian exports for 2017.
Year over year, Colombia’s exports in 2021 were 30.4% higher than the $31 billion during 2020.
The 5 major buyers of Colombian exported products are the United States of America, mainland China, Panama, Brazil and Ecuador. Combined, that quintet of main customers purchased over half (53%) of goods exported from Colombia in 2021.
Applying a continental lens, about a third (33.9%) of Colombia’s exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 28.8% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Colombia shipped another 22.4% worth of goods to Asia, with 13.3% going to importers in Europe.
Smaller percentages were furnished to Africa (1%) and Oceania (0.6%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Colombia’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing Colombia’s largest trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, countries that imported the most Colombian shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Colombian exports.
- United States: US$11.5 billion (28.5% of total Colombian exports)
- China: $3.6 billion (9%)
- Panama: $2.5 billion (6.1%)
- Brazil: $2 billion (5.1%)
- Ecuador: $1.7 billion (4.3%)
- India: $1.5 billion (3.8%)
- Turkey: $1.3 billion (3.1%)
- Mexico: $1.2 billion (3%)
- Chile: $1.09 billion (2.7%)
- Peru: $1.08 billion (2.7%)
- Netherlands: $981.1 million (2.4%)
- Italy: $877.4 million (2.2%)
- Spain: $710.1 million (1.8%)
- Germany: $702.5 million (1.7%)
- Canada: $701.8 million (1.7%)
- South Korea: $585.8 million (1.4%)
- Belgium: $562.2 million (1.4%)
- Japan: $467.8 million (1.2%)
- United Kingdom: $451 million (1.1%)
- Dominican Republic: $436.6 million (1.1%)
- Hong Kong: $409.2 million (1%)
- Guatemala: $364.4 million (0.9%)
- Venezuela: $331.2 million (0.8%)
- Israel: $319.3 million (0.8%)
- Argentina: $295.3 million (0.7%)
Almost nine-tenths (88.5%) of Colombian exports in 2021 were delivered to the above trade partners.
The fastest-growing buyers of products exported from Colombia are Hong Kong (up 106.3% from 2020), India (up 91.1%), Canada (up 69.2%), Venezuela (up 69%), Dominican Republic (up 66.6%), Panama (up 63.4%) and Brazil (up 60.8%).
Italy was the lone decliner among Colombia’s top customers via its -8.7% cutback from 2020 to 2021.
Countries Causing Colombia’s Largest Trade Deficits
Colombia racked up an overall -$20.6 billion trade deficit during 2021, up by 65.7% from the -$12.4 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- mainland China: -US$11.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- United States of America: -$2.64 billion
- Mexico: -$2.6 billion
- Brazil: -$1.45 billion
- Germany: -$1.36 billion
- France: -$1.28 billion
- Argentina: -$1 billion
- Vietnam: -$895.3 million
- Japan: -$801.1 million
- Spain: -$579.2 million
Among Colombia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Colombian deficits generated by the United States of America (up 121.6%), Argentina (up 95.7%) and Spain (up 93.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Countries Generating Colombia’s Largest 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 top trade partners.
- Panama: US$2.4 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Ecuador: $910.5 million
- Turkey: $806.6 million
- Netherlands: $492.4 million
- Dominican Republic: $388.2 million
- Hong Kong: $352.2 million
- Chile: $338.3 million
- Guatemala: $305.5 million
- Venezuela: $261.8 million
- Saint Lucia: $239.4 million
Among Colombia’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Colombian surpluses with Hong Kong (up 139%), Chile (up 99.2%) and the Dominican Republic (up 79.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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, Peru’s Top Trading Partners, China’s Top Trading Partners and Panama’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, The World Factbook. Accessed on June 28, 2022
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 28, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 28, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Colombia. Accessed on June 28, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 28, 2022