Introduction from the Chairman of the British & Colombian Chamber of Commerce
Welcome to this guide to doing business in Colombia.
Colombia is a country of immense opportunity for UK business - it has a large and fast-growing consumer market, a strong industrial sector and could not be more friendly towards inward investors and trading with the world. The country has made immense strides towards creating a secure and stable environment for all kinds of business, such that tourism is booming, massive investment taking place to upgrade roads, ports and airports and the country's economic prospects for the coming decade make it an emerging star in the Latin America region.
The turnaround in Colombia's fortunes can be seen in statistics and on the ground. Since 2001 the economy has grown by a steady average of around 5% per year, inflation and unemployment have been reduced to record lows and the national accounts rewarded with an investment grade rating by international credit rating agencies. Traditional industries such as oil, gas and mining go from strength to strength, with flagship companies such as Ecopetrol and Cerrejon being world leaders, while new sectors such as call centres, cosmetics and eco-tourism give a flavour of emerging business strengths.
For many British firms, Colombia will be a market that is only just coming on to their radar, which is why this guide is timely and welcome. What will surprise many is how significant an opportunity it may be. Colombia as a country is bigger than Turkey, Egypt or Nigeria; its population of 47 million people is more than Spain, Argentina or Poland. It has just concluded a free trade agreement with the EU, opening the way to lower cost trade for a wide variety of goods. The workforce is well-educated, with a strong professional sector where English is widely spoken alongside the national language of Spanish.
This guide will help companies gain the knowledge and confidence to take the first step into this exciting market. The B&CCC team in London can provide you with the practical assistance to convert that step into real business. We look forward to working with you.
Chairman, British & Colombian Chamber of Commerce