Multi State Multi Sector Trade Mission to Colombia

Date: September 9-12, 2013

Location Bogota, Colombia

Deadline: June 7, 2013

Participation Fee: $1995 (SME) $3040 (Large Companies)

Why Colombia?

The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA), which entered into force on May 15, 2012, provides duty-free entry for over 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports to Colombia, with remaining tariffs to be phased out over the next 10 years. Colombia’s traditional acceptance of U.S. brands as well as U.S. and international standards provide a solid foundation for U.S. firms seeking to do business there. Colombia is the third largest market in Latin America and is 22nd globally as a market for U.S. exports. With more than 45 million people, an improved security environment, an abundance of natural resources, and an educated and growing middle-class, business opportunities are booming in Colombia.

Trade Mission Features

  • Pre-travel briefing/webinar on subjects ranging from business practices in Colombia to security
  • Embassy briefings on the business climate, political scenario, and best prospect sectors
  • Networking Reception
  • Pre-scheduled meetings with potential partners, distributors, end users, or local industry contacts

Targeted Sectors

The mission is open to U.S. companies from a cross section of industries with growing potential in Colombia, including, but not limited to safety and security equipment and services, medical equipment, cosmetics, agricultural machinery, and information technology.

Space is Limited. Register Today.


Patrick A. Kenny, Central-Southern NJ, 609.896.2731 or

Susan Widmer, Northern NJ, 973.645.4682 ext.216

State of New Jersey STEP Funding

The State of NJ is offering up to 5 State Trade Export Program (STEP) eligible companies reimbursement of $1995 plus 100% of interpreter fees during the mission (a $1000 value). For STEP questions please contact William Spear, International Business Advocate, New Jersey Business Action Center, at

Best Prospects for U.S. Companies

Safety and Security Industry

The safety and security market in Colombia is a very dynamic sector, growing at an estimated rate of 5 to 10% per year. It is also estimated that the total Colombian budget for defense is US$10 billion in 2012 (close to 6% of GDP). The Colombian government is investing heavily in intelligence equipment and services. Market opportunities exist for safety and security industry products such as CCTV cameras, telephones for security, reproduction and record devices for security, data processing equipment, radio transmission, biometric equipment, and communication jammers, among others. Opportunities exist in the defense sector for helicopters and fixed wing parts and maintenance services, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and mine detectors, modern communication systems (MCS), IT structure platforms, marine and coastal surveillance systems and logistics software solutions and applications, among others. The U.S.-Colombia TPA reduced tariffs for a wide variety of products and services in the safety and security industries.

Medical Equipment

Strong opportunities exist for exports of medical equipment and other health industry-related products and services to Colombia. Following the entry into force of the U.S.-Colombia TPA, approximately 98% of all U.S. medical equipment imports into Colombia are subject to zero tariffs. U.S. imports enjoy the largest share of the local market, accounting for around a third of all medical equipment imports. Currently, the strongest competitors are companies from Germany and Japan, and companies from China are quickly increasing their market share. The best approach to enter into this market is through distributors.

In 2011, Colombia imported medical equipment & supplies valued at US$985 million, their highest ever level. A few multinationals manufacture in the country. The medical device industry is concentrated around the capital Bogotá. Per capita spending on medical devices is average for the region.

According to a 2012 study by America Economia Intelligence, seven of the twenty best hospitals and clinics in Latin America are located in Colombia, including: Hospital Fundacion Santa Fe in Bogota (4th place); and Fundacion Valle del Lili in Cali, Fundacion Cardioinfantil in Bogota, and Fundacion Cardiovascular de Colombia in Bucaramanga (7th, 8th, and 9th place, respectively).


Colombia is the fifth largest market for cosmetics in Latin America, following Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela. The estimated market size in 2010 was US$ 6.2 million. Local production of cosmetics, toiletries, and personal hygiene products has been growing on an average of 4.4% since 2003. Local production reached US$2.7 million in 2010.

The Colombian cosmetic market is attractive for U.S. companies for various reasons:

  • Highest rate of females in the workplace in Latin America. Female participation in the labor force is 44.6% (2007) in Colombia. Women’s participation in the labor market has increased over 11% in the past five years;
  • Use of free trade zones for cosmetic and toiletry products, with corporate tax benefits;
  • Convenient geographic location as a global export hub;
  • Zero tariffs on many U.S. products in the cosmetic sector.

Agricultural Equipment

Colombia is the 18th largest market for U.S. agricultural equipment exports. The U.S.-Colombia TPA provided immediate tariff reduction to 0% from 10% on combines, to 0% from 15% on tractors, and reductions on other equipment. The U.S.-Colombia TPA eliminated Colombia’s restrictions on the importation of remanufactured goods, and the Government of Colombia is encouraging farmers to participate in lease programs. The agricultural equipment sector accounted for nearly US$19 million in U.S. exports to Colombia over 2008-10 (average) or less than 1 percent of total U.S. industrial exports to Colombia. Colombia has been a net food importer because food production was disrupted by the unstable security environment. With improved security, areas that had gone unfarmed for prolonged periods are now producing, and the agricultural sector in Colombia is likely to continue to grow without affecting natural forests. Barely 8% of the potential arable land is effectively used. The availability of water resources in Colombia is among the highest in the world with nearly 45,202 cubic meters per capita per year which exceeds the South American average and is significantly higher than other regions in North America, Europe and Asia. The Government of Colombia is developing policies to incentivize the agriculture sector in Colombia, which, if carried out, will lead to opportunities for U.S. exporters of agricultural equipment.

Information Technology

Colombia’s IT sector has been experiencing very dynamic growth due to government investment in infrastructure, expanding connectivity throughout the country, and transitioning it from being a hardware-demand driven market to a market that incorporates more value-added IT spending. The Ministry of Information Technology and Communications’ (MinTIC) is halfway through its broadband expansion plan called Vive Digital, which seeks to provide connectivity to 8 million Colombians throughout the entire country by 2014. While all of the major bids for this process are in the execution phase, the new connectivity environment is very likely to drive up demand for services by households and businesses, which will seek to take advantage of expanded Internet access.

With the expected continuation of an advancing Colombian economy, the establishment of new businesses in the country should continue and even increase, particularly as Colombia moves forward in the implementation of the Free Trade Agreements it has negotiated. This trend should sustain the demand for hardware and software equipment. Additionally, as local companies continue to grow in size and scope of operations, they too are expected to strengthen their IT capabilities with investments in data centers and Customer Relationship Management Solutions, as well as IT Risk Services.

Major government programs led by new entities such as iNNpulsa, are allocating funds for technology modernization programs geared towards small and medium companies, which make up more than 90% of all Colombian businesses, and have been found to have very low rates of technology penetration and connectivity. This, in combination with a reduction in tariffs and taxes, particularly for new equipment such as computers and tablets, demonstrates significant opportunities for U.S. exporters in the IT industries.

Other Products and Services

The foregoing analysis of the above industry sectors in Colombia is not intended to be exhaustive, but illustrative of the many opportunities available to U.S. businesses. Applications from companies selling products or services generally within the scope of this mission will be considered and evaluated by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

  Notice to Visitors!

  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website  disclaimer statement.

  Notice to Visitors!

  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website disclaimer statement.