(This is a snapshot of the Colombian economy at the time of the Massachusetts - Colombia Innovation Partnership Mission in 2011)
With Latin America’s fourth largest population and third largest economy, Colombia is one of the world’s most rapidly emerging markets. Colombia’s economy has experienced sustained growth in both the near and long-term, with national Gross Domestic Product doubling within the past ten years and topping Brazil in job creation last quarter. Microsoft, RIM, HP and Genpact have all made major investments in Colombia recently, fostering a strong job market in the digital technology and innovation economy.
The United States and Colombia signed a Free Trade Agreement in May 2012, eliminating tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports, expanding trade and promoting economic partnerships for the two countries. The International Trade Commission (ITC) has estimated that the tariff reductions in the Agreement will expand exports of U.S. goods alone by more than $1.1 billion, supporting thousands of additional American jobs. The ITC also projected that the Agreement will increase U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion.
Last year, Massachusetts exported approximately $81.5 million to Colombia, making it the Commonwealth’s 5th largest trade partner in Latin America and 33rd overall. The Commonwealth’s exports to Colombia increased by 12.5 percent over the same period in 2011.
- Colombia has also recently launched Vive Digital, a program aimed at doubling national household internet connectivity within four years. Vive Digital parallels the work underway by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to close the digital divide in Massachusetts and expand broadband availability in the underserved areas of Massachusetts.
Life Sciences Sector
- Over 24 percent of all Colombian graduate students are pursuing a degree in the life sciences fields, ranking Colombia among the highest in the world for graduate students studying to enter the life sciences sector.
- Like Massachusetts, Colombia also has a strong medical device market, and this mission offers increased collaboration in the industry. The Massachusetts medical device industry employs almost 25,000 people in 400 medical device companies across the Commonwealth, and is responsible for creating more than 80,000 jobs in related industries.
Clean Energy Sector
- Several Massachusetts companies, particularly in the clean energy sector, have already experienced success in Colombia, including Big Belly trash compactors, Boston-headquartered hydro company Mavel and New Bedford electric vehicle company Vectrix. Colombia, like Massachusetts, is committed to growing its clean energy economy, and this mission will open new opportunities for collaboration on clean energy projects in the two countries.