Whether it be a one-time deal or an ongoing venture, choosing to cross international borders with your precious freight can be a daunting task. There are many considerations and too often, much is left to chance. With a part of the world as different as this, put all the chips on your side and do business with confidence: Choose LAC when shipping to Colombia!
If your company is considering importing from or exporting goods to Colombia, and you’re not entirely familiar with how freight forwarding is regulated there, join with the team that does. If communicating in the local Spanish dialect is an obstacle, or you have doubts about respecting the corporate culture there, why wouldn’t you choose the firm that has it nailed down? Perhaps your current logistics company isn’t up to snuff, and you’re considering another for cargo shipping to Colombia. You’ve come to the right place.
For shipping to Colombia always choose LAC as your partner!
One prerequisite before trading with a new country is an understanding of their business processes and how the shipping industry is regulated. Not only are logistics laws a departure from North American norms, but communication methods and business etiquette among Colombian business people might come as a surprise if you’re not accustomed to it. Another consideration is choosing to tackle all the challenges and uncertainties alone, or rather to select a real Logistics Partner: A reputable group of experts that has been there before. You want to depend on a team that’s already familiar with the local corporate culture, and has a track record of safe, dependable, fast shipping to Colombia. LAC is that company.
Nearly five times the size of the UK, Colombia is a large and diverse country which has enjoyed a long tradition of economic and political stability. Colombia’s economy is diverse and relatively advanced and there are opportunities for companies in many, varied sectors, particularly promising in niche areas. Primary commodities remain its main exports (in particular crude oil, coal, coffee, and non-ferrous metals), but American and British companies operate in a wide range of sectors, including financial services, beverages and environmental services. More than 99.2% of Colombians speak Spanish, also called Castilian; 65 Amerindian languages, two Creole languages, the Romani language and Colombian Sign Language are also spoken in the country. English has official status in the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina.
Most of Colombia’s duties have been consolidated into three tariff levels: 0 percent to 5 percent on capital goods, industrial goods, and raw materials not produced in Colombia; 10 percent on manufactured goods, with some exceptions; and 15 percent to 20 percent on consumer and “sensitive” goods. Many agricultural commodities are benefiting from the FTA as almost 70 percent of current U.S. farm exports to Colombia became duty-free and the remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 19 years. The FTA eliminated duties on wheat, barley, soybeans, soybean meal and flour, high-quality beef, bacon, almost all fruit and vegetable products, wheat, peanuts, whey, cotton, and the vast majority of processed products. The FTA also provides duty-free tariff rate quotas (TRQ) on standard beef, chicken leg quarters, dairy products, corn, sorghum, animal feeds, rice, and soybean oil. Colombia also removed the price band system (PBS) application for agricultural imports from the United States. In March 2012, Colombia joined the WTO Information Technology Agreement, under which Members eliminate tariffs on a most favored nation (MFN) basis for a wide range of information technology products. About 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia became duty free immediately on May 15, 2012 when the FTA between the United States and Colombia entered into effect. Tariffs: Despite the efforts mentioned above to consolidate and simplify its tariff rate schedule, Colombia’s numerous economic integration agreements have fostered overlapping tariff applications. For example, a product may be subject to more than ten different duties depending on whether it comes from a member of the Andean Community, the Latin American Integration Agreement, or the Caribbean Community. Approximately 97 percent of the Colombian Harmonized Tariff Schedule (CHTS) products can be imported without an import license, but import tariffs and VAT still apply. Colombia’s harmonized tariff schedule book lists all applicable import duties. Non-Tariff Barriers: Although the implementation of the Unified Portal for Foreign Trade (VUCE) has significantly streamlined the paperwork process for imports and exports, Colombia’s bureaucracy still constitutes a barrier to trade for both local and foreign companies. Pilferage in customs warehouses and robberies of trucks persists, but cases have decreased dramatically. Colombian customs can detain shipments indefinitely because of improper tariff schedule classification, incorrect address, or typing errors. When mistakes are made by the exporter or importer, the goods may be refused entry into Colombia and be returned at considerable expense to the exporter or importer. Colombian customs statutes provide for significant fines and penalties for light infringement of procedures and errors in freight forwarding documents by customs agencies (Agencias Aduaneras). U.S. freight forwarders and intermediaries are subject to the same sanctions and penalties as Colombia’s agents and brokers. Export Establishment Registration: Colombia and the United States have an agreement that provides import eligibility of meat and poultry products with a packaging origin from any USDA federally inspected establishment. The GOC will only recognize those establishments that are listed in the USDA FSIS Meat and Poultry Inspection Directory. As well, beef products must also originate from establishments approved under the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Export Verification Program (EV).