Country Listing

Colombia Table of Contents


Direction of Trade

Figure 8. Trade Structure, 1986

Colombia's primary export markets were the Western industrial countries, which purchased 79 percent of all exports in 1985. Developing countries absorbed 18 percent; the remainder went to the Soviet Union and East European countries. The United States was the largest market, accounting for 33 percent of Colombian exports in 1985. It was followed by West Germany with 16 percent of the market, Latin America and the Caribbean with 14 percent, the Netherlands with 5 percent, Japan with 4 percent, and Britain with 3 percent.

The role of the United States in Colombia's export strategy was expanding in the late 1980s. This resulted primarily from the growing United States market for Colombian oil. Colombia exported 57,000 barrels of oil per day to the United States in 1986, and twice that amount in 1987, to become the ninth largest supplier of crude oil to the United States. Colombia also registered small increases in the manufactured goods and cut flowers markets.

Colombia's imports, unlike its exports, were predominantly processed or manufactured goods; in 1986 approximately 40 percent were categorized as capital goods, and 46 percent were considered intermediate goods or raw materials necessary for manufacturing. Machinery and equipment, including specialized transport equipment, constituted 38 percent of total imports.

Developed countries produced most of Colombia's imports. In 1985 nearly 73 percent of total imports originated in Western industrial countries, 26 percent in developing countries, and 1 percent in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The United States was the single largest exporter to Colombia, providing 35 percent of all goods shipped to Colombia in 1985. The Western Hemisphere-- excluding the United States and Canada--provided 24 percent of Colombian imports, half of which came from Venezuela, Brazil, and Mexico. Other exporters included Japan with 10.4 percent of the market, West Germany with 6.4 percent, Canada with 3.8 percent, and France with 3.1 percent.

Data as of December 1988