Exporting to Colombia: Challenges, Opportunities and Entry Strategy

Just after Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America. It is one of the only countries in South America with two coasts: the Pacific and the Caribbean. This gives global investors a big shipping advantage. It has also had steady economic growth and moderate inflation making it a promising market for exports to Colombia. There are also five different malls in the country.

With all these positive points, it stands as the newest and most emerging market that offers global companies a great opportunity to venture. Here, let’s discuss how to export to colombia – the challenges, opportunities and strategies:


• The existing government framework requires open tenders and public tenders. There may be a lack of transparency and fairness in bidding.

• Second, even only companies registered under Colombian law were able to offer legal services. International law firms had to form a joint venture with a local law firm.

• In order to bid for the Colombian government’s contracts, commercial presence was a requirement.

• For international banking there is a requirement to maintain a commercial presence in the country. Insurance companies have restrictions on the provision of policies under certain conditions in which insurance policies are not considered equivalent to bank guarantees.


Despite all the challenges it faces, Colombia offers global companies a wealth of opportunities. Here are a few:

• Infrastructure projects planned in Colombia will require most or all of the following services. Project financing, subcontracting of public works, logistics, construction equipment for public roads and airports.

Other areas of interest for international investors could be water treatment, water supply, electricity generation, oil and gas exploration and pollution control equipment. Transportation equipment, security and defense items and services are also in high demand at this site.

• Airport services and the improvement of existing infrastructure are seen here as a great opportunity for foreign investment.

• The key sectors that have always attracted attention in trade in Colombia are: oil and gas, petrochemicals, renewable energy, telecommunications and refineries.

• Other export opportunities include cotton, wheat, corn, soy products, automotive parts, food and beverage processing, and more.

• Packaging equipment and medical equipment are also in high demand here.

Input strategies:

Before going into the details of how to export to Colombia, it is equally important to analyze your market entry strategies. Here are some tips:

• An agent or representative or distributor in Colombia would be your best bet. This requires a proper contract to comply with the Colombian Commercial Code.

• Negotiating contacts with trust and a professional relationship is essential.

• It can offer excellent after-sales service as a strategy.

• Affordable financing and competitive pricing could be the key to your entry compared to others competing for it.

• Attending trade shows and advertising there could be a perfect way to make yourself known.

• Finally, it is very essential to be able to communicate in Spanish.