Finally. After so much discussion, it’s here. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the EU takes effect as from today (1st August 2013). This has huge implications for bilateral trade and I personally hope that it will be a call to action for British exporters.

Colombia is one fascinating, growing and promising country for British exports but one that is not fully understood, as UKTI summarises:

“UK trade with Colombia is underdeveloped. Although the Colombian economy is of a broadly similar size to that of South

Medellin

Africa, UK exports to Colombia are a small fraction of those to the latter market. This reflects historical factors but it is also an illustration of the potential that exists. UK exports (including both goods and services) amounted to £418 million in 2010, up 60 per cent on 2009 and strong growth continued in 2011. Our principal export categories are pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery and beverages. On the services side, the UK is particularly strong in insurance.”

We have written about Colombia for this blog including our popular “Would you do business in Colombia?” article and “Living and working in Colombia, an Englishman’s perspective”.

However, Colombia is not an easy country to do business in. Bureaucracy can be a deterrent as well as corruption in some sectors. Logistics can be highly complex given the country’s diversity. And you will find that this open economy has attracted companies from all over the world and particularly the US (with an FTA already in place). Building relationships is key as well as long-term outlook.

So how can we work together? We can offer you:

-          Market research: we have undertaken many studies covering Colombia for clients in sectors such as electrical engineering, plastics, packaging, printing, luxury goods and food and drink.

-          Partner recruitment: finding you the right distributor/partner to do business with is critical and we have experience of sourcing partners for British clients

-          Business development: already in Colombia but needing someone to oversee this market and help you grow it? we are here for you

Colombia is South America’s third largest economy after Brazil and Argentina (and it has been argued that it could be actually larger than Argentina’s). With increasing protectionist barriers from the Mercosur countries, it might be time to look at the opportunities in Colombia. With an FTA now in place, there just couldn’t be a better time.

 

 

For more information on the free trade agreement, its implications and what it means to you, check out this great article by Deloitte (Belgium).

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