Colombia - Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.

Last published date: 2019-10-13
The post-peace accord environment in Colombia is expected to generate a period of stability and economic prosperity that will see development of several key sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, job training, education, and rural development. Colombia could see a jump in foreign direct investment following its May 2018 invitation to accede to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Formalizing OECD membership requires approval by Colombia’s Congress and the Constitutional Court, a process that is expected to be completed in spring 2019. Outgoing President Santos, who lobbied hard for accession, has touted this achievement to promote investment into the country. Newly-elected President Duque has pledged to boost foreign investment into Colombia, and his recently-nominated cabinet of ministers has been welcomed by the international business community, with the hope that Duque’s economic team implements tax reforms and other policies that encourage a more competitive economy and sustainable development in the post-accord era. The largest investor in Colombia in 2017 was Spain, followed by the United States, with annual investment flows totaling USD 2.6 billion and USD 2.2 billion, respectively. Sectors that received the largest investments were transportation, communication/IT, mining, manufacturing, and agriculture.  
Colombia's extensive, ongoing infrastructure projects will generate demand for project financing, logistics, construction equipment for public roads and airports, water treatment, water supply, electric power generation, oil and gas exploration and pollution control equipment, air navigational and port security aids, railway construction, transportation equipment, security and defense items and services, and mass transit systems. The city of Bogota announced in 2017 that the first line of the Bogota metro rail project will begin construction in November 2018, and the city is expanding its bus rapid transit system.
The consortium OPAIN was awarded a contract in 2006 for upgrades and expansion of Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport, and these renovations are ongoing. There have also been proposals to develop a second airport in the Bogota area, El Dorado 2. Several regional international airports in Colombia are undergoing renovations, and all concessionaires are seeking equipment to modernize their facilities.
The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the United States Export Import Bank (EXIM), and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) support U.S. companies as they craft solutions to development challenges and make inroads in key sectors such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, renewable energy, telecommunications, and ports. USTDA grants have resulted in significant contracts being awarded to U.S. companies at Colombia’s two oil refineries. EXIM’s commitment of USD one billion to energy company Ecopetrol and USD 2.8 billion to oil refiner Reficar has provided myriad export opportunities for U.S. exporters of oil and gas equipment and services. USTDA grants for customs security and operational enhancements at the ports of Cartagena, Buenaventura, and Puerto Salgar should also increase prospects for U.S. exporters. In June 2018, OPIC’s board approved USD 300 million in financing for projects in Colombia related to highway infrastructure and development of low and middle-income housing.
Other opportunities for U.S. exporters include: agricultural products like cotton, wheat, and pork; automotive parts and accessories; aviation parts and accessories; computer hardware and software services; IT equipment and services; electrical power systems; safety and security equipment; food and beverage processing and packaging equipment; medical equipment; plastics materials and resins; oil and gas equipment; mining equipment; and franchising.