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Colombia’s Economy: Why Do Their Imports Outweigh Exports? [Latest Trade Stats]

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Colombia Economy Overview

Colombia is ranked as the 37th largest economy in the world and has annual exports of $43.2 billion and imports of $49.3 billion, meaning it has a negative trade balance of -$6.04 billion.

Colombia received over $150 billion in total foreign direct investment in the fifteen years leading up to 2016.

The general consensus among analysts is that, with armed conflicts within the country being gradually replaced by a stable political process, economic conditions could become more favorable in the future.

In this guide, we give you an overview of Colombia’s economy, including the country’s primary imports and exports.

Top Colombian Exports

Here is a breakdown of the most important products exported by Colombia, both commodities and other notable exports.

Commodity Exports

  • Crude petroleum – $13.8 billion
  • Coal briquettes – $7.45 billion
  • Refined petroleum – $2.96 billion
  • Coffee – $2.35 billion
  • Gold – $1.24 billion

If you’re interested in trading some of these commodities, you can jump to our list of recommended regulated brokers in at the end of the page.

Other Notable Exports

  • Cut Flowers – $1.46billion
  • Bananas – $1.05 billion
  • Coke – $910 million
  • Ferroalloys – $584 million
  • Palm oil – $452 million

The value of Colombia’s exports has fallen sharply over the last five reported years, from $60.8 billion to $43.2 billion.

The top export destinations of Colombia are the United States ($11.5 billion), China ($4.07 billion), Panama ($3.07 billion), Mexico ($1.66billion), and Turkey ($1.7 billion).

Top Colombian Imports

Here is a breakdown of the most important products imported by Colombia, both commodities and other notable imports.

Commodity Imports

  • Refined petroleum – $2.94 billion
  • Corn – $1 billion
  • Soybean meal – $666 million
  • Crude petroleum – $508 million
  • Wheat – $410 million

Other Notable Imports

  • Cars – $2.19 billion
  • Broadcasting equipment – $2.04 billion
  • Packaged medicaments – $1.23 billion
  • Computers – $912 million
  • Planes, helicopters, and/or spacecraft – $761 million

GDP of Colombia

The GDP of Colombia is $331 billion with a GDP per capita of $6,668. From 2013 to 2018, the country’s GDP showed growth of 37%.

Details on Colombia’s Imports/Exports

Crude Petroleum

Shipments of crude petroleum account for 31.8% of Colombia’s total exports, making it the biggest export of the country.

Worldwide exports of crude petroleum are worth $1.08 trillion each year and Colombia has a 1.28% share of that market. The country ranks as the third-largest exporting country in South America, behind Brazil (2.34%) and Venezuela (2.15%).

Coal Briquettes

Exports of coal briquettes represent 17.2% of Colombia’s annual export total and the country is the fifth-largest exporter of this commodity with a 5.24% share of a market that is worth $142 billion annually.

Colombia exports coal briquettes to many different countries, but the three biggest importers of this product are Turkey (21.9%), the Netherlands (10.3%), and Chile (8.54%).


Coffee is an important commodity export of Colombia. Annual shipments worth $2.35 billion contribute 5.43% of the country’s total exports of $43.2 billion.

Colombian coffee producers were forced to take action and change their production structure in response to problems with leaf rust attacks caused by climate change. These renovated plantations allowed coffee production to reach a record-breaking level of 14.6 million bags a few years ago.

Refined Petroleum

Shipments of refined petroleum account for 6.85% of Colombia’s annual exports. With worldwide sales of $753 billion per year, the country has a 0.39% share of the global market.

Colombia ships 63.2% of its refined petroleum to the United States, and Singapore (8.35%) is the second-largest importer of this commodity from Colombia.


Global exports of gold are valued at $305 billion annually. Colombia does not feature among the top fifteen exporters, although its shipments worth $1.24 billion account for 2.88% of the country’s total exports.

The United States is the primary destination for Colombia’s gold exports, importing 43.3% of the annual shipments, followed by Switzerland (21.6%).

Interesting Facts About Colombia

  • Colombia’s famous drug baron, Pablo Escobar, once offered to pay the country’s national debt of $10 billion in an effort to enhance his reputation and avoid prosecution.
  • Colombia is ranked as the second most biodiverse country in the world and is one of only seventeen so-called “megadiverse” countries on the planet.
  • The city of Bogota has South America’s largest network of bicycle routes (300km).

Interested in Trading Commodities?

Interested in trading coal, coffee, gold, and other important Colombian commodities? Start your research with reviews of these regulated brokers available in .

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