Logistic and forwarding services in Columbia


Capital City

47.1 Mio.

National languages

Columbian Peso (COP)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 388.4 Mrd.

GNP per person
USD 8238 (est.)

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 408.3 Mio.

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 206 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Colombia

Relations between Colombia and Switzerland are close and wide-ranging, with frequent consultations and high-level meetings. Colombia ranks as a priority country for Switzerland in the areas of peacebuilding, humanitarian aid and economic development cooperation. Trade between the two countries is brisk.

Economic cooperation

Colombia is Switzerland’s fourth most important trading partner in Latin America. The potential of the Colombian economy and of the EFTA-Colombia Free Trade Agreement which came into force on 1 July 2011, should help to further develop economic relations.
In 2015, Switzerland imported goods worth CHF 575.8 million from Colombia, consisting mainly of precious stones, precious metals (gold 64%) and agricultural products (coffee 22%).  Swiss exports to Colombia worth CHF 434 million consisted mainly of chemical and pharmaceutical products, machinery and watches.  Swiss capital invested in Colombia at the end of 2014 amounted to almost CHF 977 million, and Swiss firms employed 11,511 persons in the country.


Business language


Dimensions and weights

Metric system.


National currency: Columbian Peso (Col. $) = 100 centavos (c, cvs).
ISO code: COP

Customs tariff

Harmonised system.

Import control

The import licence is fundamentally valid for 6 months, registration for 6 or 12 months. The goods must be shipped within the validity period of the licence or registration.
Goods which are subject to controls must be notified to the Columbian Ministry (MinCIT) to obtain a registration or a licence from here.
All goods which are subject to a permit or authorisation from the authorities, including animals, plants, protected species, foods, cosmetics, medicines and medical technology, consulate invoices Z and goods which have to correspond to Columbian standards are affected by the requirement to register for imports.
The MinCIT provides a list of goods for which import licences are required.
Standard VAT rate: 16%

Terms of payment and tenders

Letters of credit are standard, documents against payment (D/P) in exceptional cases and in the case of solvent importers 90 days.
Accept (D/A). USD invoices. Tenders in USD on the basis of fob are standard, indication of the exchange rate is standard. Tenders in Spanish.

Designations of origin

Not required.


Box labelling: indication of the gross and net weight on both sides using the metric system.
It should be noted that any marking must correspond with the “Pais de Origen” indicated in the “Registro”.


Sea packaging should be as light as possible but stable as gross customs clearance is carried out. It should be particularly permanently designed to protect against significant shaking and moisture due to the difficult conditions when the goods are being transported over high mountains. ISPM 15 has been used for wooden packaging since 01/01/2015 (Standards of Pytosanitary Measures).

Product samples

Samples with no retail value are permitted duty free.
The documents for samples which are free of charge must be labelled “Muestra sin valor comercial”. The shipping of samples which are subject to customs duties as “product samples” or “packages” is not permitted.
“Licencia No-Remborsable” should be applied for in the case of high value samples in any case.

Shipping and accompanying documents

Standard and

a) Commercial invoices (indication of whether these are open or in accordance with the letter of credit), in Spanish, with all standard information, with the following declaration: “Certificamos bajo juramento que los precios de esta factura son los que cargamos al cliente y que la mercancia a que ella se refiere es originaria de … (country of origin). En fé de lo expuesto, firmamos la presente declaración en … (city, state)”, date, signature.

The invoice can be issued in EUR but the final amount must also appear in USD.

The designation indicated in the “Registro” or on the licence must be copied over precisely as the description of the goods. The customs tariff number must also be added. If the “Registro” of the licence contains a “Hoja descriptiva” (enclosure with more details on the goods named in the “Registro”), these details must be fully listed on the commercial invoice.

There are special regulations for cars and lorries.

No chamber of industry and commerce or consular legalisation required.

b) Certificates of origin are only required in special cases, then 2 copies (certain foods such as foods, tractors, vehicle engines, vehicle replacement parts etc.) (ask the Chamber of Industry and Commerce).

c) Ship freight shipments: bills of lading (1 original, 3 copies) must name the recipient in line with the import licence, their number, the date of issue and expiry and the customs tariff number must be given. On order loading is not permissible.

d) Postal packages up to 20 kg: 1 international dispatch note, 1 customs declaration in Spanish/French/English.

e) Proof of preferential status:

EUR.1 (issued by the customs office)

Declaration of origin on the invoice

– for each exporter up to a value of EUR 6.000

– “authorised exporters” – no limit

Wording of the declaration of origin: “The exporter of the products covered by this document (customs authorization No …)(1) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of … (2) preferential origin”. If the declaration on the invoice is made by an authorised exporter, the permit number of the authorised exporter should be entered under (1). If the declaration on the invoice is not made by an authorised exporter, the words in brackets can be left out or the gap left empty. (2) The origin of the products must be indicated. If the statement on the invoice relates in full or in part to products originating in Ceuta and Melilla, the exporter must make the short description “CM” clearly visible.