Overview of Trade and Investment Between Colombia and Panama

Bilateral trade and investment between Colombia and Panama have grown at a relatively steady pace ever since the two countries signed a Free Trade Agreement in September 2013. Since then, Colombia’s natural resource/commodity producers have benefited from tariff-free exports to the Panamanian market. Conversely, Panama exports manufactured items and other finished products to Colombia, as part of a free flow of goods and services between the two Latin American nations.

A brief glance at the 10-year-old Colombia-Panama FTA, and it is apparent that Colombian exports to Panama far outweigh trade flows in the other direction. In 2020, Colombia imported just 1.6 percent of the value of goods that it exported to Panama. That number has come up since the pandemic-induced lull in global trade, but Colombia still holds a large trade surplus with Panama. 

Trade and Investment: Top 10 Colombian exports to Panama

In terms of trade and investment, figures published on the Trading Economics website indicate that Colombian exports to Panama topped $426.7 million USD in 2021. Here’s a breakdown of those exports by sector and their values (in millions USD):

  1. Crude oil – $89.9m 
  2. Pharmaceuticals – $32m
  3. Plastics – $30m 
  4. Animal, vegetable fats and oils – $19.25m 
  5. Electronics equipment – $18.46m
  6. Perfumes and cosmetics – $17.27m
  7. Construction/building materials – $14.79m
  8. Industrial chemicals – $13.84m
  9. Machinery components – $12.44m
  10. Paper products – $12.86m

Whether you are a foreign investor looking for a bullish industry to put your money into, or a company seeking to enter the Colombian market, it’s important to consider all the trade and investment trends before doing business in Colombia.

An infographic on trade and investment  in Panama
Panama’s main export partners, important in understanding Trade and Investment

Trade and Investment: Top 10 Panamanian exports to Colombia

In terms of trade and investment, figures published on the Trading Economics website indicate that Panamanian exports to Colombia reached $40.6 million USD in 2021 – far less than the $426 million worth of goods Panama imports from the Andean nation. Here’s a breakdown of Panama’s exports by sector and their values (in millions USD):

  1. Iron and steel – $6.12m
  2. Mineral fuels, distillation products – $5.25m
  3. Precious stones and jewelry – $3.37m
  4. Plastics – $3.26m
  5. Pharmaceuticals – $3.1m
  6. Animal fats, vegetable oils – $2.63m
  7. Sugar, sugar-based products – $1.79m
  8. Hard liquor – $1.76m
  9. Aluminum – $1.74m
  10. Footwear – $1.38m
Panama’s main export partners, important in understanding Trade and Investment

Trade and investment in Colombia, Panama: Key FDI statistics

  • After the United States, Panama is the 2nd largest country of origin for Colombian FDI inflows
  • After the United States, Colombia is the 2nd largest country of origin for Panamanian FDI inflows

Not long after the two countries signed the bilateral trade pact, Panama and Colombia negotiated a financial/tax information sharing deal in a bid to fight tax evasion and money laundering, news reports said at the time. 

For years, Panama has enjoyed the spoils of being a tax haven for foreign investors who wish to shield some or all of their taxable earnings in their home countries. Colombian trade and investments assets in the Central American country must now be declared. In exchange for agreeing to share financial information with tax authorities, the administration of ex-Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos agreed to remove Panama from a list of countries it considers tax havens. 

Trade and investment between Panama and Colombia a Biz Latin Hub infographic
Trade and investment between Panama and Colombia

Biz Latin Hub can help you with trade and investment in Colombia and Panama

At Biz Latin Hub, we provide integrated market entry and back-office services throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with offices in Bogota and Cartagena, as well as over a dozen other major cities in the region. We also have trusted partners in many other markets.

Our unrivalled reach means we are ideally placed to support multi-jurisdiction market entries and cross border operations.

As well as knowledge about trade and investment in Colombia and Panama, our portfolio of services includes hiring & PEO accounting & taxation, company formation, bank account opening, and corporate legal services.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you in finding top talent, or otherwise do business in Latin America and the Caribbean.

If this article on trade and investment in Colombia and Panama was of interest to you, check out the rest of our coverage of the region. Or read about our team and expert authors.

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Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub
The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Craig Dempsey

Craig Dempsey

Craig is a seasoned business professional in Latin America. He is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Biz Latin Hub Group that specializes in the provision market entry and back office services. Craig holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, with honors and a Master's Degree in Project Management from the University of New South Wales. Craig is also an active board member on the Australian Colombian Business Council, and likewise also active with the Australian Latin American Business Council.

Craig is also a military veteran, having served in the Australian military on numerous overseas missions and also a former mining executive with experience in various overseas jurisdictions, including, Canada, Australia, Peru and Colombia.

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