Exporting to Colombia
Colombia’s GDP grew 2.6% in 2018. Growth is expected to reach 3.4% in 2019 and remain in that region for the next few years (IMF, 2019). Positive GDP performance and stable inflation and interest rates underpin optimistic forecasts for 2020 and beyond (IMF, 2019).
Ease of doing business
Colombia is ranked 2nd in Latin America for ease of doing business (World Bank, 2018). Contributing factors are the country’s political stability, a growing middle class and improved safety and security after the signing of a peace agreement in 2016.
Opportunities for exporters
There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Colombia have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.
The Colombian government is investing in its National Transport Master Plan to upgrade the country’s roads, railways, waterways, maritime and air transport. The public-private partnership framework in Colombia has created opportunities for UK businesses to take part in infrastructure projects in areas such as construction, consulting, and supplying materials.
Major public transport opportunities
Colombia is set to relaunch the country’s railway network with several projects, including reopening the railway line from La Dorada to Santa Marta Port, building the first Bogota Metro line, and reviving the Antioquia and Pacific Railways (freight rail service). The government is also looking to expand Colombia’s airports, offering further potential for UK businesses.
Oil and gas opportunities
Hydrocarbon sector opportunities include exploration of offshore resources. Additional opportunities include the development of onshore reserves and recovery of crude prices in enhanced exploration investments.
High demand for renewable energy systems
In 2018, the Ministry of Mines announced the introduction of renewables to the country's energy matrix. The decree establishes guidelines to promote long-term contracting of electric power generation projects from renewable sources, this provides opportunity for UK businesses.
Life sciences and healthcare
Demand for healthcare affiliates
Healthcare is established as a fundamental right for all Colombian citizens by law and there is a regulated social security system. The total expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 5.9% in 2016 (World Bank, 2017). Private healthcare represents around 29% of healthcare spending (WHO, 2015)
Demand for medical devices
Colombia is the 3rd largest medical device market in Latin America. The main medical devices sold are consumables such as bandages, sutures, syringes, needles, first aid kits and gloves.
Pharmaceuticals and technology
Tighter regulations on bioequivalence have been put in place, and this is driving rapid growth in the bioequivalent generic drug market. The x-ray technology market is also expanding rapidly.
Colombia and the UK signed a Mutual Recognition of Qualifications Treaty in 2016. Colombian universities are looking to partner with UK universities to offer dual, joint and blended degrees.
English language training
The majority of Colombian universities require students to obtain English level B1 in order to graduate. There are commercial opportunities for English language training (ELT) companies to sell products and services to university language centres. Some private schools are also looking to procure ELT and teacher training services and products.
Public and private investment
Private education is common in Colombia. The private, bilingual school networks include Uncoli in Bogota and Redcol (outside of Bogota). The new administration will focus on increasing welfare and equity in access to education, particularly primary and middle school, and investment in education infrastructure.