India's Overseas Markets


Population (2018): 49.6 million   

GDP (2018): US$ 330.2 billion 

World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2018): 65th

With a welcoming policy towards foreign investment, Colombia is expected to remain one of Latin America’s most attractive markets. Foreign investors receive the same legal treatment as local investors. Colombia’s improving security and relative political stability has drawn increasing foreign direct investment in the energy, financial, infrastructure and mining sectors.

Colombia’s commitment to a broad range of institutional and structural reforms over the past few decades have strengthened its economy and made it one of the most business-friendly countries in Latin America. Notably, the government established the Private Council for Competitiveness to enhance public-private partnership in 2007.

Why Colombia

Colombia has quickly emerged as one of the most important economies in Latin America. Real GDP growth has averaged 4.7% in the past decade, though it slowed to 2% in 2016 due to low global oil prices1. The World Bank expects Colombia’s growth to strengthen over 2018-2019, driven by the recovery of non-oil exports, strengthening oil prices, and the government’s ambitious infrastructure programme.

Emerging middle class

Colombia’s rapidly-growing middle class is expected to comprise 37% of the population in 2020 and 46% in 2025, up from 30.5% in 20152. This means growing consumer demand, representing opportunities in sectors such as retail. The growth of the middle class is also expected to raise demand for quality infrastructure and utilities like transport, electricity and water.

Familiar growth sectors

Colombia’s major growth sectors are in line with our capabilities, giving India firms excellent opportunities to display their strengths. These include oil and gas, with Colombia currently producing 886,000 barrels a day3, and infrastructure, with the government’s plan to invest US$70 billion in infrastructure through 2035. Colombia is also consolidating its position as one of the most important IT providers in the region, with growing ICT development in IT, business process outsourcing (BPO), IT outsourcing, shared services and apps.

Profiled Industries

Information and Communications Technology

With the country’s estimated internet penetration rate at 58.1%1 and IT spending expected to reach a total value of US$530.4 million by 2018, Colombia’s ICT sector has great growth potential.

The government has actively promoted ICT to boost social and economic development. Under the Vive Digital programme, import tariffs on connectivity devices have been eliminated making it easier to access credit for such devices. The Ministry of Education has also implemented the Total Connection (Conexión Total) programme with an aim to connect Colombia’s educational institutions to the internet.

Colombia ranks 6th and 3rd in Americas and South America respectively for access to government services online2. In addition, Colombia shows strong performance in cyber security, with 74% of enterprises with a security policy.

Indian companies can ride the growth of Colombia’s ICT sector by exporting solutions in e-government, security and mobility.

Infrastructure and Urban Solutions

The infrastructure industry, forecasted to grow at 6% annually between 2014 and 2023, is one of Colombia’s most promising sector. The Colombian government has made infrastructure a national priority, with a US$70 billion investment plan through 2035, including an ambitious Fourth Generation (4G) road infrastructure programme.

One key development is the Caribbean Diamond Project. It is overseen by FINDETER (Colombian Financial Institution for Development), Microsoft Corporation and Fundación Metrópoli (a Europe-headquartered international institution dedicated to research and institutional innovation on cities and regions), with the support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The Caribbean Diamond is a region with multiple “supercities” in the northern region. The massive project covers 26% of the country’s population. To increase the region’s competitiveness and improve its inhabitants’ quality of life, cities within this project will develop new sectors including energy, international commerce, knowledge-based industries, natural resource management, technology and tourism.

This project presents a wide range of opportunities for India companies in master-planning, as well as port, water and industrial park development.

Offshore Oil and Gas

The Colombian energy sector is promising, with significant proven reserves and rising oil production. With vast swathes of the country unexplored, new oil regions are still waiting to be discovered.

The Colombian government held oil auctions in 2014, drawing a total of US$1.4 billion in investments. State oil company Ecopetrol was also partially privatised in 2007. Such reforms have successfully generated interest in Colombia’s energy sector, with high levels of exploratory and development drilling.

Economic & Commercial Treaties and Agreements:

• Trade Agreement, 1970
• MoU on Cooperation in the field of Information Technology, 2002.
• MoU on Hydrocarbons, 2008.
• Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (BIPPA) signed in November, 2009. The agreement entered into force from July 2012.
• MoU for cooperation in the IT sector between National Association of Industries of Colombia (ANDI) and NASSCOM, 2009.
• MoU on Business Development Cooperation, 2010.
• Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, 2011. It has entered into law wef. 7 July, 2014.
• MOU for cooperation in IT Sector between NASSCOM and FEDESOFT in May 2013.

Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) & Foreign Ministry

• MoU on Annual Foreign Office Consultations, 1995
• Agreement for non-requirement of Visas for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders, 2001.
• Agreement for facilitation of Visas to Businessmen, 2001.
• Agreement for Cooperation between Diplomatic Academies, 2001.

Other Ministries

• MoU on Cooperation in Science & Technology, 2005.
• MoU on Cooperation in Urban Development, 2007.
• MoU on Defence Cooperation, 2009.
• MoU on Cooperation in the Bamboo sector, 2009.
• Agreement for Cooperation in Health, 2010.
• MoU for Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Reforms, 2011.
• MoU on Sports, 2014.
• Cultural Agreement 1974
• Cultural Exchange Programme for 2012-2016.

Commercial and Economic Relations:

The Commercial and Economic relations have burgeoned in the recent years. Last two years have also seen the export and import baskets getting more varied. Indian imports include Mineral fuel, minerals oils, Natural or Cultivated Pearls, Wood and Steel articles of wood and Cocoa. Indian exports include Motorcycles in CKD form, Vehicles other than railways, Cotton yarn and woven fabrics of cotton, Organic chemicals and Iron & Steels. 

There has been a fall in the Colombian imports to India owing to the fall of oil exports. India-Colombia business organizations have been interacting on regular basis and a number of business delegations led by export promotions councils such as EEPC, EPCH, TEXPROCIL, SRPTC, CHEMEXIL, PLEXCONCIL, Spice Board of India, Electronic and Software Council, CAPEXIL and AEPC and Chambers of Commerce like CII have visited Colombia in the last 5 years. To promote bilateral business interest, a ‘Colombia-India Chamber of Commerce’ was formed in Bogota in September 2008 with the support of the Embassy.

2015 saw following delegations visiting Colombia, even as the balance in trade was in the favour of India due to drastic fall in the oil prices. Some of the major visits were as below:

1. 25-member TEXPROCIL delegation participated at the Colombian textile fair, Colombiatex in January.
2. A 12 member delegation from Capexil the Chemical & Allied Products Export Council visited Bogota for a 2-day BSM in Bogota in February.
3. Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC) participated in 2-day BSM in March.
4. 15 companies from Automobile Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) participated in BSM held on 26th October, 2015.
5. CHEMEXCIL, a buyer seller meet for chemical industry from Colombia and India was organized in Bogota on 2-3 December. 45 companies from India and more than 100 importers from Colombia participated in the event.
6. EPCH, the Export promotion council for handicrafts participated in the Annual Artisan Fair at ‘Corferias’ exhibition grounds from 4-17 December.
7. Six tour operators took part for the second time in the biggest tourism fair of Colombia, ANATO, held in February.
8. Under the “Make in India” initiative the Embassy held an event involving business community, media and the authorities of Atlantic region in Barranquilla on March 19.

Indian Companies in Colombia:

Many Indian Companies have established operations in Colombia. Some of the known companies which are present in Colombia are:

• IT (TCS, Tech Mahindra etc )
• Pharmaceuticals (IPCA, CIPLA, Aurbindo Pharma, Dr. Reddy´s)
• Agro-Chemicals (United Phosphorus, Shraddha Chemicals),
• Automobiles and tractors (TVS, Bajaj, Hero, Sonalika and Mahindra),
• Mining (Renuka energy).

In oil exploration, ONGC Videsh has on-going exploration and production operations in Colombia. It´s joint venture with Chinese company SINOPEC called Mansarovar Energy owns a producing asset which produces around 40,000 barrels per day.

Praj industries have constructed 6 ethanol plants in Colombia with capacity of 1.05 million liters per day. It is constructing its 7th plant currently. Hero Moto Corp. inaugurated its motorcycle plant in Cali in September 2015. The plant which will have investment of US$ 70 million will be producing 78,000 motorcycles initially and will lead to direct & indirect employment of 2500 persons.

Technical and Economic Cooperation:

The number of ITEC slots for Colombia has been increased from 25 in 2009-2010 to 40 in 2015-2016. A group of 24 English teachers went for ITEC scholarship to EFL University, Hyderabad in 2015. Assistance under ITEC program included donation of a US$ 200,000 solar energy plant to Colombia in December 2002 and deputation of two Indian IT experts from May to July 2002 to advise the local government on IT related policy issues. India donated US$ 1 million to Colombia in the wake of country-wide floods and damage to infrastructure in 2010.

Vehicles, cotton, organic chemicals, pharmaceutical products, plastic articles, machinery, iron & steel, etc.

Product Code Product Label India’s exports to Colombia in 2018 (in US$ million)
’87 Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof 333.6
’52 Cotton 106.9
’29 Organic chemicals 82.7
’30 Pharmaceutical products 63.9
’39 Plastics and articles thereof 53.8
’84 Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers; parts thereof 49.5
’76 Aluminium and articles thereof 46.7
’55 Man-made staple fibres 36.7
’73 Articles of iron or steel 33.8
’72 Iron and steel 32.4

Export potential

According to the ITC Trade Map, India has an untapped trade potential of US$ 1 billion with Columbia. The products with greatest export potential from India to Colombia are Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products, for retail sale, Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides & similar, and Semi-milled or wholly milled rice. Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products, for retail sale shows the largest absolute difference between potential and actual exports in value terms, leaving room to realize additional exports worth $88.0 mn.

Product code Description Export potential
3004Xb Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products, for retail sale US$ 88 million
3808 Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides & similar US$ 31.6 million
100630 Semi-milled or wholly milled rice US$ 52.2 million
29XXXX Other organic chemicals US$ 20.7 million
3907Xa Poly”ethylene terephthalate”, in primary forms US$ 25.8million

Mineral fuels, pearls, plastics, wooden articles, metals, machinery, inorganic chemicals, etc.

Product Code Product Label India’s imports from Colombia in 2018 (in US$ million)
’27 Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral … 574.1
’71 Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad … 359.9
’39 Plastics and articles thereof 62.4
’44 Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal 10.3
’72 Iron and steel 6
’76 Aluminium and articles thereof 4.9
’84 Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers; parts thereof 2.4
’79 Zinc and articles thereof 1.9
’28 Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, of rare-earth metals, … 0.7
’17 Sugars and sugar confectionery 0.6

Embassy of India in Colombia (Accredited to Ecuador)

Telephone numbers:

(+571) 6373259, 6373279, 6373280 y 6373289 Fax: (+571)  6373516


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