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flag Colombia Colombia: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | Why You Should Choose to Invest in Colombia | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities

 

FDI in Figures

In a context where global foreign investment increased by 10.9% in 2013, in particular in Europe (+25.2%) and in Latin America (+17.5%), FDI flows to developing economies reached a new high of US$759 billion. However macroeconomic fragility and policy uncertainties are driving investors to caution.

The improvement of the security conditions during these recent years has contributed to re-establish investor's confidence. FDI inflows, which attained a record level in 2008, dried up in 2009 due to the global economic crisis. However, the economic growth remained strong (+4.7% in 2012 and +4% in 2013) and foreign investors remain present in Colombia, contributing to the regular increase of FDI since 2010. The two main destinations of FDI are the hydrocarbon and mining sectors (they represented 50% of the FDI in 2013), but a diversification has been observed in the last recent years, in particular in telecommunication and tourism. In the context of economic stability, FDI is registering significant increases since 2011, a tendency which should continue in 2014. In 2013 FDI reached USD 15.823 billion.

In Colombia FDI benefit from a very attractive legislative framework. The ratification of a bilateral free-trade agreement by the USA in October 2011 and the establishment of special regulations in the free zones have contributed to improve the country's appeal. Moreover, the richness of its natural resources and a significant domestic market are Colombia's main assets.

Information on the 2013 FDI influx in this region can be accessed in the Global Investment Trade Monitor published in January 2014 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

 

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Colombia Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 8.0 4.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 8.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 6.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 8.3 5.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 201120122013
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 13,40515,52916,772
FDI Stock (million USD) 96,017112,069127,895
Performance Index*, Ranking on 181 Economies 32--
Potential Index**, Ranking on 177 Economies 37--
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 129117145
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****) 16.917.618.4
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 28.530.333.5

Source: UNCTAD - Last Available Data.

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in Colombia

Strong Points
The country's main strong points are:
- Its economic stability: Despite the crisis, the government was able to maintain its growth at 2.5%;
- Its political stability: Contrary to what is believed, Colombia's democracy is the oldest and most stable on the South American continent;
- Recovered foreign investor confidence: Foreign investment increased significantly and reaches USD 6,295 million. More than 700 multinational companies launched investment programs in Colombia;
- Qualified and competitive human resources: Colombian workers are amongst the best qualified in Latin America. In effect, the country has a very good education system and the literacy rate is around 95%;
- A Strategic Geographic Location: Colombia is a strategic point between the different markets of the region. The country has modern port facilities on both the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, which facilitates trade with European countries, the United States, or Asian countries;
- Its status as an export platform: Through various free trade agreements it has made, Colombia has access to a market of almost 1,200 billion people;
- Numerous development centers;
- Infrastructures which are both numerous and modern.
Weak Points
Although a sharp improvement was noted regarding security matters, violence remains the country's principle weak point. Security levels in Colombia have deteriorated amidst increasing attacks by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). FARC has proven its ability to overcome leadership losses and its actions pose a serious risk to investments.

Furthermore, despite the actions taken by the Colombian Government to struggle against drug production in the country, Colombia is the second producer of coca in the world (after Peru).
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Today the Colombian government is reaping the fruits of the policy it implemented to secure democracy, whose objective is to create favorable economic conditions in order to once again, give investors confidence, especially foreign investors. The government has put efforts into concluding free trade agreements, namely through an association agreement as well as a series of agreements in the area of investments in the European Union, aimed at developing a stable and transparent economic environment in which contributions in capital can prosper.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Guarantee

 

Acquisition of Holdings
Acquiring a majority interest in the shareholdings of a Colombian company is allowed, except for companies in the petroleum sector.

 

Obligation to Declare
The agency for the promotion of foreign investment provides information about the authorizations required for setting-up a business.

 

Competent Organization For the Declaration
Ministry of Commerce
Requests For Specific Authorizations
The petroleum sector is controlled.

Learn more about Foreign Investment in Colombia on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Invest in Colombia
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info, Tenders in Colombia
Inter-American Development Bank, Tenders in South America
Globaltenders, Tenders & Projects from Colombia
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
The Proexport website concentrates on investment in Colombia.
Colombia Commercial Guide - Buy USA
 
 

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Learn more about Investing in Colombia on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: October 2014