Colombia country brief

Australia and Colombia enjoy expanding relations, based on trade, investment and cooperation.

Key engagement

Mining, energy, education and agriculture.

Outlook

Following improvements to its security environment, Colombia is expanding its international engagement and opening up new areas to economic development.

Bilateral relations

Australia and Colombia established diplomatic relations in 1976. Colombia has an embassy in Canberra, and Australia recently opened an Embassy in Bogotá in June 2017. Australia and Colombia work together in a range of international forums, 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.

Foreign relations

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 Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the Organisation of American States (OAS).

Colombia acceded to the OECD in 2018 and served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2011-12. Colombia has recently acceded to NATO alongside Australia.

Australia and Colombia are both members of the Cairns Group, where they work together to pursue free and fair agricultural trade. Both countries also participate in the World Trade Organisation’s Trade in Services Agreement negotiations.

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

Fast Facts

  • Colombian visitors to Australia (2017) — 15,300
  • Australian visitors to Colombia (primary destination 2017)* — 10,800
  • Resident Australian population born in Colombia (2016) — 19,000
  • Australian residents of Colombian descent (2016) — 18,000
  • Colombian students in Australia (2017) — 14,100

High level engagement

  • 2017 October — former Minister of Justice Keenen visited Bogota to enhance ties on the international fight against Transnational Crime. 
  • 2017 June — Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo visited Cali to attend the Pacific Alliance Summit.
  • 2017 June — Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop opened the Australian Embassy in Bogotá.
  • 2016 August — former Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo visited Bogota to investigate an FTA with Colombia.

Agreements with Colombia

  • In progress — Pacific Alliance FTA (under negotiation)
  • 2019 — Air Services Agreement
  • 2017 — MoU Relating to Air Services
  • 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

Public diplomacy

Colombia is a Tier 1 Priority country for the Endeavour Leadership Program. Under the previous Endeavour Mobility Grants and Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships programs, 32 Colombians have been offered opportunities to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and 43 Australians have been offered opportunities to undertake a study experience in Colombia.

Through the Direct Aid Program, the Australian Government provides financial support to a range of projects in Colombia. In 2017-18, the Direct Aid Program funded five projects in six regions. Projects focussed on sustainable mining, gender equality, agricultural productivity and sports diplomacy (including Australian Football), The Direct Aid Program has highlighted Australia’s credentials as a new embassy, contributing to Colombia’s post-conflict development through Australian sport and resource management.

In 2018, 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.

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

 

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. 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 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 Economic Factsheet for Colombia and the Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreement.

Business

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 sector.

There are 87 Australian businesses with a presence in Colombia, of which 55 have opened an office in-country and 16 are ASX200 companies.

Further information on Colombia’s market profile and doing business in Colombia can be found on the Austrade website.

Travel

* Colombia reports the number of Australian visitors as 16,800 in 2017 (Colombian Migration Authority-Migracion Colombia).

Last Updated: 29 April 2019