Known best for Sofia Vergara and their agricultural exports, Colombia is rarely recognized for their strength in manufacturing. However, with fifteen free trade agreements and an ideal port location, Colombia boasts competitive prices, skilled labor, and governmental support for foreign investment in manufacturing.
Global Fashion Impact
Textiles are positioning Colombian fashion as a World Class Industry. Thanks to the Productive Transformation Program, a government entity that works with the private sector to promote Colombian competitiveness and production, Colombia is the world’s third market for highest growth rate in the textile and fashion industry. What started as high-quality corduroy in Medellin has turned the world upside down. Textile imports have grown 15% between 2010 and 2014 to supply growing requirements of the local market and exporting to the United States, Mexico, and Ecuador.
Motorcycles and other Autos
As with many countries in Latin America, motorcycles are a staple in Colombia. They use less gas than other vehicles, are more affordable, and are perfect for weaving through city traffic. Colombia is home to 7 motorcycle plants, and motorcycle production continues to grow on an average of 16% since 2010.
Colombia does not just produce motos; they are also a large vehicle producer in Latin America with more than 130 thousand units per year. Cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs–increased financial stability and the growth of the middle class across Latin America fuel this growing manufacturing industry. Chevy, Hyundai, Kia, Renault, and even Ford have plants there. The primary importers of Colombian automotive products are Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile.
Constructing the Future
The construction industry in Colombia has grown more than any other sector; this includes the construction materials for buildings and civil works. With a recent increase in housing and infrastructure programs as well as political pressure to build roads and renovate ports and airports, we can only expect it to continue to grow.
Colombia’s construction industry is the third largest in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico. The United States, Venezuela, and Panama account for 59.5% of building material exports. The industry is expected to double in value by 2020 and reach US$ 52 billion. Top products include cement, non-metallic minerals, and plaster.
The Driving Force in Cosmetics
As a number five market for cosmetics and toiletries in Latin America, more than 300 companies including Kimberly-Clark, P&G, Unilever, and Avon, produce and package the products here. As another sector overseen by The Productive Transformation Program, the government and private sectors work together to position Colombia as a world leader in the export of cosmetics and toiletries. Now, Colombian cosmetics represent more than 10% of total Latin American exports.
Women are driving this industry. The percentage of female managers here exceed that of Canada, UK, Germany, Japan, and France. Moreover, the cosmetics industry is the second largest female labor market in the region. In the last few years, they have seen a 37% increase in the female workforce compared to 16% growth worldwide.
Biodiversity and Social Progress
As home to the Amazon Rainforest and three mountain ranges, Colombia is rich in natural resources. They have a temperate climate and ports in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. But it is not just rich in biodiversity. It’s also rich in forward moving politics. Their government focuses on strong trade agreements and competitive quality products. And Colombia has made great strides in equal opportunities for women. They are not just exporting women for TV shows; they are making beautiful progress for the world.
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