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Colombia

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Colombia country brief

Expanding relations, based on people, talent, business and shared international interests.

Key engagement

A large and growing source of international students in Australia, we share common interests in the rules and institutions that help promote growth and security.

Outlook

Export and investment opportunities exist for Australian business, particularly in mining, energy, infrastructure, education, health and agriculture.

Bilateral relations

Australia and Colombia established diplomatic relations in 1976. Colombia has an embassy in Canberra.

Australia opened its Embassy in Bogotá in June 2017.

Colombia has an embassy in Canberra, a Consulate General in Sydney, and Consulates in Melbourne and Perth.

Foreign relations

Australia and Colombia are members of IMF, World Bank, Cairns Group, OECD, World Trade Organisation (WTO), United Nations (UN), and UN organisations. In 2018 Colombia acceded to NATO alongside Australia.

Australia and Colombia work together in a range of international fora, including the UN, the WTO and the OECD, which Colombia joined in 2018. Both countries cooperate on a range of international issues, including trade and investment, agricultural development, anti-corruption and transnational crime.

Colombia is a founding member of the Pacific Alliance and the Forum for East-Asia Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) and is seeking APEC membership.

Colombia is also a member of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the Organisation of American States (OAS).

Colombia served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2011-12.

Australia's foreign policy is guided by the Foreign Policy White Paper.

Fast facts

Colombian visitors to Australia (2019 Dept of Home Affairs) #
21,700
Australian visitors to Chile (primary destination (2019 Dept of Home Affairs)#*
11,200
Resident Australian population born in Colombia (2016 Census)
18,996
Australian residents of Colombian descent (2016 Census)
17,984
Colombian Working Holiday Makers visas granted (2019 Dept of Home Affairs)
N/A
Colombian students in Australia (2019 Dept of Education)
20,718

# This data is owned by Home Affairs. It provides quarterly updates to this data on its website.

* Colombia reports the number of Australian visitors as 17,127 in 2019 (Migración Colombia).

High level engagement

  • 2018 August - Australia’s Inspector-General of Taxation visited Bogotá
  • 2017 October –Minister of Justice Keenen visited Bogota.
  • 2017 June – Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo visited Cali.
  • 2017 June – Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop opened the Australian Embassy in Bogotá.
  • 2016 August –Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo visited Bogota.

Agreements with Colombia

  • 2019 – Air Services Agreement
  • 2016 – MoU on Bilateral Cooperation in the Hydrocarbons Industry
  • 2014 – MoU on Bilateral Cooperation in the Mining Industry
  • 2009 – MoU on Strengthening Bilateral Trade and Investment

Australian Embassy in Colombia

Edificio Tierra Firme, Avenida Carrera 9 No. 115-06/30
Oficina 2002, Bogotá, Colombia

Tel: +57 1 6578030

General: Bogota.embassy@dfat.gov.au

Facebook: Embajada de Australia en Colombia y Venezuela

Twitter: @AusEmbCO

Public diplomacy

Since 2017, the Australian Government has provided financial support through the Direct Aid Program to 14 projects, reaching almost 4,000 people throughout Colombia. Projects have focussed on rural and agricultural development, environmental protection, gender equality, community health, humanitarian aid and education.

Australian scientists and policy experts cooperate with Colombian authorities on topics of mutual interest, including biosecurity, marine sciences, climate science and asbestos safety.  

In 2019, the Council on Australia-Latin America Relations (COALAR) provided numerous grants including to the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Somos21 Limited, the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at Charles Sturt University and the University of New South Wales to connect and collaborate with people and institutions in Colombia.

Economic diplomacy

Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America, expanding at an average annual rate of 3.2 per cent over the past five years. . From 2000, it enjoyed uninterrupted economic growth until the COVID-19 pandemic caused a contraction in 2020. Growth is expected to rebound. The country's middle class has been increasing consistently from about 30 per cent of the population in 2014 to an expected 37 per cent in 2020. Colombia is a member of the OECD and boasts strong macroeconomic fundamentals, an environment conducive to business and a proactive approach to economic liberalisation.

Improvements to Colombia's security environment are opening up new opportunities for economic development, particularly in the agriculture, health services, and education and extractives sectors.

Australia is currently negotiating its first FTA with Colombia through the Pacific Alliance regional trading bloc (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru).

Further economic and trade information can be found in our Colombia trade/economic fact sheet [PDF].

Business

Austrade aims to attract foreign direct investment into Australia. It also identifies market opportunities and promotes the capabilities of Australian exporters and education providers.

Colombia is a large, vibrant economy that is embracing market openness and attracting increasing attention from international investors and businesses, including Australia.

Education is Australia's most recognised export to Colombia (worth $430 million in 2016-17), while Australian investment in Colombia is focused in the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector with growth in new energy technology and services, while Australian investment in Colombia has focused in the mining and infrastructure sectors.

There are 90 Australian businesses with a presence in Colombia, of which 49 have opened an office in-country and 15 are ASX listed.

Austrade

Austrade offices

Travel

See Smartraveller for information on travelling to Colombia.

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