Manufacturing in Colombia

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Advantages and challenges of manufacturing in Colombia

With a rapidly growing economy and advantageous geographical location for access to the South American markets, Colombia has many benefits for anyone looking to set up a manufacturing base in the country.

Colombia has several key advantages for industries seeking a strategic manufacturing location to export throughout the region.

  • Geographically, Colombia is less than three days by sea from most of the major shipping ports across the Americas, and just 12 days by sea to Europe – thanks to its accessibility to over 4,500 maritime routes and 680 ports around the world.
  • Colombia is a source of raw materials, most notably mining and minerals (coal, gold, and emeralds), crude oil and coal briquettes, agribusinesses (coffee, bananas, sugarcane, spices, nuts, and cut flowers), plastics, steel and iron, and vegetable oils. As of 2021, 18% of Colombia’s GDP was represented by the production of textiles, chemical products, metallurgy, cement, and plastic resins; with 14.1% of the country’s GDP accounted for by the agri-business sector: coffee, bananas, flowers, sugarcane, cattle, and rice, and the mining-energy sector: production of natural gas, oil, coal, iron, ferronickel, and gold.
  • Human talent is also a big advantage in Colombia – the country has become well known for its tech talent, but is also a hotspot for qualified engineering talent, with competitive costs for hiring.

Where is foreign investment being directed in Colombia?

The Colombian government actively encourages foreign direct investment (FDI), offering guarantees of a stable business environment, and even during the Covid-19 pandemic, inflows remained relatively steady. In more recent years, an increasing amount of FDI has been directed toward non-mining sectors.

With four major industrial centers, Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, and Barranquilla, Colombia has an incredibly diversified list of industries. Agriculture and commodities continue to lead the pack in terms of FDI, but growing industries of interest include:

  • Aeronautics
  • Automotive
  • Cosmetics & Personal Care
  • Packaging
  • Fashion & Apparel
  • Petrochemicals
  • Construction Materials

Growing opportunities within Colombia’s manufacturing sector

The Colombian government has been increasingly proactive in attracting investment to the country. Certain incentive packages, free-trade zones, and a stable environment in which to do business have boosted the nation’s profile as a manufacturing hub. During the past five years, an estimated 4.4% of the country’s GDP has been attributed to FDI. The economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic has also been swift in Colombia, with manufacturing industry production rising to historical figures not seen since 1991.

Industries that have recovered particularly well post-pandemic include Beverages, Vehicle Manufacturing & Assembly, and Oil Refining. The IMF anticipates a 5.8% growth in Colombia’s GDP for 2022.

Pro QC has been working with industries across the Americas throughout its 40-year history, and has outlined some of the most interesting facts and opportunities for manufacturers in Colombia:

Automotive: the business ecosystem for the 15.3 million vehicles circles around key cities in Colombia, which make up the bulk of the parts manufacturers and assemblers. The greatest potential for development within the auto-parts industry there is in: Cundinamarca, Antioquia, Eje Cafetero, and Valle del Cauca.

Plastics & Rubber: this huge industrial segment supplies a diverse number of industries, primarily within the medical supply, construction, and automotive businesses. Consumption of plastic resins within Colombia has been valued at US$3.7 million, with exports valued at US$2.3 million – capping a historical annual growth rate of 10.1%, with 8% of this in the last five years alone.

Packaging: in 2019 the packaging industry exported US$259 million to destinations around the world, with major markets including the US, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Germany, and Brazil.

Cosmetics: due to the natural biodiversity and multiple ecosystems and climates of Colombia, high-quality raw materials and ingredients for cosmetics are produced locally. In 2019, Colombia was the second largest exporter of cosmetics and personal hygiene products across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Construction: another huge, and growing, sector, is construction – which produces a supply of everything from building materials such as iron and steel, to anything made of cement, metals, glass, ceramics, wood, and lime. The growth potential here lies in the growing middle class across Latin America, and the demand for residential and non-residential construction. In 2019, this industry represented around 7.2% of the country’s GDP, with a value of over US$22.1 billion.

How can Pro QC help?

Pro QC offers nationwide coverage across Colombia, with a team of quality inspectors and auditors available for projects. See our list of services at for more on how Pro QC can help your business expand into Colombia.


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