Volume 44, Number 174,
July-September 2013
Colombia: Commercial Integration
and Trade Imbalances in the Pacific Basin
Jaime Torres

As seen in Table 1, industrial exports from Colombia to the Asian Pacific Basin in the period 2008-2010 showed the following features:

  • High concentration of mineral derivatives (63% in oil-derived products with low added value such as fuel oil).
  • Exports of products and chemical substances were very diverse, had high added value and came from a number of export companies.
  • Agro-industrial exports to Asia continued to be minimal.
  • Lightweight manufacturing industries had marginal shares and none exported over 3 million dollars annually on an individual basis.

Taken as a whole, industrial and agro-industrial exports grew an annual average of 24% over the last decade (with a value of only 46 million dollars as an annual average for the period 2008-2010, not including oil derivatives), showing dynamic growth from a low starting point, where chemical industrial products have the highest added value.


The imports that best represent the Pacific Basin in the 2009-2011 period were as follows:

As seen in Table 2, just over 80% of Colombian imports in the Asian Pacific were industrial goods of high and medium levels of technology. When compared to total Colombian industrial exports, it is clear that the mere importing of textiles is greater than the total of Colombian manufacturing exports (without oil derivatives). Chemical industry imports were 17 times higher than Colombian exports of the same sector, which is the most dynamic added value export. In summary, Colombian industrial exports only represented 7.4% of imports in the Asian Pacific, indicating the extreme weakness of Colombian export capacity for varied raw material products.

Figure 2 shows major Colombian exports to the Asian Pacific by economic sector. The following is of note:

  • Rapid growth is a recent phenomenon (only since 2006).
  • The two most significant items on the list (crude oil and thermic coal) only show up at the end of the decade, where they grow quickly and define the mining export pattern that has consolidated the nation’s economy.
  • Positive dynamics for green coffee have benefited from recent improvements in international prices and penetration in new countries.
  • Industrial exports had a minority share.
  • Lightweight and agro-industrial industries are still marginal.

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PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 195 October-December 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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