Top Products to Source from Colombia
Colombia has become one of the top three providers of 64 goods to the United States, making it a commercial ally in more than just in the oil and mining sectors. The export growth has come after the launch of a free-trade agreement (FTA) between the countries in 2012. According to data from the United States International Trade Commission (USITC), Colombian exporters made the top-three ranking and achieved top-of-mind awareness with consumers for products such as building materials, coffee, flowers, shape-wear, Tahiti limes, and tilapia filets.1
U.S. - Colombia Trade Facts
In 2019, Colombia GDP was an estimated $327.9 billion (current market exchange rates), and the population was 50 million.2 U.S. goods and services trade with Colombia totaled an estimated $40.7 billion in 2019. Exports were $22.0 billion; imports were $18.7 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Colombia was $3.3 billion in 2019.3
Colombia is currently our 25th largest goods trading partner with $28.9 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2019. Goods exports totaled $14.7 billion; goods imports totaled $14.2 billion. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Colombia was $580 million in 2019.
Trade in services with Colombia (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $11.8 billion in 2019. Services exports were $7.2 billion; services imports were $4.5 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with Colombia was $2.7 billion in 2019.
Top Product Exports From Colombia
Colombia was the United States' 25th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019.
The top export categories in 2019 were: mineral fuels, coffee, tea & spice (coffee), live trees and plants, precious metal and stone (gold), and special other minerals.
U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Colombia totaled $2.7 billion in 2019 – their 13th largest supplier of agricultural imports. Leading categories include: un-roasted coffee, nursery products, bananas and plantains, roasted & instant coffee, and snack foods.
U.S. imports of services from Colombia were an estimated $4.5 billion in 2019, 6.3% ($269 million) more than 2018, and 177% greater than 2009 levels. Leading services imports from Colombia to the U.S. were in the travel, transport, and intellectual property (industrial processes) sectors.
The following six categories outline the top products to source from Colombia:
- Coal & Petroleum
This is by far the largest export commodity in Colombia. It constitutes about 57% of the total export value. Colombia still ranks among the leading mining countries in the world with a massive reserve of naturally occurring minerals including coal.
Colombia produces crude petroleum oil with export revenue for the product reaching the tune of $12.9 billion. Colombia became an exporter of oil in the mid 80s and hasn’t looked back since with the United States being the main importer of Colombian crude oil.
Colombia exports the oil through state owned Colombian Petroleum Enterprise also known as Ecopetrol but the country consumes its gasoline and additional fuels locally.
According to the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country has positioned itself as a trusted provider of bananas because of its long experience and consistency in the market, and the logistical advantages. In addition, seasons do not affect banana production; they can be provided in great volumes between January and September.
Colombia is the sixth largest exporter of bananas in 2019. They exported bananas worth $859 million with the United States and Europe as their main market in 2018. This was a growth of 1.4% of the same produce in 2017. In 2019, the banana exports brought in revenue worth $868 million. The country was able to achieve this growth by cultivating more areas and renewing plantations that had ceased production.
Colombia is a major exporter of flowers that reach a wide range of markets. The country’s proximity to the equator gives it a unique growth environment for flowers because of the temperate climate. The nation is the second largest exporter of cut flowers in the world with a 15% market share globally. Their flowers are easily distinguished because of their volume, big stems and strong scents.
Out of the 400 farmers growing flowers in Colombia, 300 of them are growing them for export. The country has 4,000 hectares of land dedicated to specialized flower production with roses taking the biggest share of space. Interestingly, Colombia is the world's biggest exporter of chrysanthemums and not roses because of stiff competition from countries like Kenya that plant exquisite roses as well. Apart from roses, Colombia also produces mini carnations, pompons, chrysanthemums, and alstroemerias. The United States takes 80% of the roses from Colombia followed by Russia and the United Kingdom.
- Gems and Precious Metals
At the moment, Colombia is the biggest exporter of emeralds in Latin America and the second largest in the world, behind Zambia. Emeralds mined in Boyacá and Cundinamarca departments are mostly exported to the US (40% of the total), Hong Kong (30%), Switzerland (11%), Thailand (8%), Japan (4%) and Israel (2%).4
- Coffee & Spices
Colombia has grown to become the third largest exporter of coffee in the world and coffee has shaped the development of the Colombian economy in significant ways. Coffee and spices make up 5.6 % of the total exports.
Since the country joined the WTO Information Technology Agreement in 2012, which requires member countries to eliminate tariffs on a majority of information technology products, Colombia enjoys the benefits of exporting some of the latest farming, manufacturing and processing plant machinery and equipment that has really helped grow their economy.5
Colombia has opportunities to continue to increase its market share among the top suppliers to the US. Based on ProColombia’s research, exporters can increase the sales of more products in volume terms to the US because many of them enter the country without a tariff. These include the golden berry (Cape gooseberry) and Hass avocado (once USDA clears it for importing), as well as bathing suits, sports apparel and underwear. Others are cocoa and its derivatives, plus auto parts, cosmetics, flour and baking products, glass containers, handicrafts, household goods, medicine, and plastic lids.6
At Exporta Wholesale, we aim to facilitate the increasing transition of US buyers near-shoring their manufacturing operations to Latin America. Exporta provides U.S. buyers access to hundreds of manufacturers in Mexico and Colombia, all of whom are pre-vetted to ensure high quality standards for our carrier partners. For more information on Exporta please visit our website.
About Exporta Technologies
Exporta Wholesale is the largest marketplace connecting suppliers in Latin America with buyers in North America. Today, we have a network of over 5,000 Latin American suppliers serving a variety of consumer goods and product categories in the United States.
Exporta’s marketplace offers buyers a full service experience in the origination, sourcing and managing of products. The platform was founded on the idea that curation and service are the most important elements in the buyer’s journey. Exporta’s marketplace is building technology that addresses the pains of sourcing products internationally at attractive prices.