As Colombia’s energy sector expands and major infrastructure projects continue to develop, vast opportunities will be made available in Colombia for exporters across the globe. The United States has been Colombia’s top trading partner for the last couple of years but competition is increasing as other countries aggressively pursue trade opportunities in Colombia’s active and growing market.
The United States has responded to this increased competition by proposing a U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement which would grant U.S. companies duty-free access when trading their products with Colombia. If approved, an estimate indicates that U.S. exports may grow by $1 billion in the first year of the agreement. The United States is also relying on its close proximity to Colombia and its long trade history as advantages while facing heightened foreign competition. However, other countries will continue to compete for the rich trade prospects in the Colombian market.
This past year, China became Colombia’s second leading trade partner and its exports to China have grown 224 percent in just one year. China is not the only country increasing its trade with Colombia. Canada’s free trade agreement will go into effect later this year and will increase trading activity among Colombia and Canada. South Korea and Panama have begun negotiating free trade agreements with Colombia and hope to reach a deal soon. With a very ambitious trade agenda, Colombia has also initiated discussions with Japan and Turkey regarding future trade agreements.
The reason for all these countries looking to trade with Colombia lies in the diverse opportunities present. The oil and gas market is growing rapidly as well as the need for refinery modernization projects. These two major infrastructure projects will open up opportunities for businesses in the oil and gas equipment and services sector. In addition to oil and gas, there are multiple projects involving ports, telecommunications, and airports. There is also a large amount of development and building going on leading to opportunities in the construction sector as well. Medical equipment, resins, and plastics all have a big demand in Colombia opening up yet another avenue for businesses in these areas to make a profit.
Doug Barry of the Trade Information Center recently spoke with Margaret Hanson-Muse, senior U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service officer in Colombia, to discuss the Colombian market and its opportunities for exporters. To find out more about Colombia, you can read Doug Barry’s interview with Margaret Hanson-Muse in its entirety here at the International Trade Administration website.