Millions Moved in Trade between Colombia and Israel in Recent Years, Highlighting the Role of Coal

Colombia celebrates the third anniversary of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Israel, despite tensions arising from the government of Gustavo Petro’s failure to condemn the attack carried out by the Hamas group on October 7, resulting in 1,200 deaths, including two Colombians.

Israel is Colombia’s second most important trading partner in South America, after Brazil. Thanks to the agreement, 97% of Colombia’s agricultural and agro-industrial exports became completely tariff-free, and 99% of industrial exports to Israel are also, with the remaining 1% set to be liberated in the next two years.

In terms of investments, opportunities were identified in cybersecurity, mobility, e-commerce, fintech, insurtech, blockchain, and technology for the medical cannabis industry, as well as in the chemical and metal-mechanical sectors.

Over the last decade, Israel accounted for 1% of Colombian exports, experiencing an increase in recent years, primarily due to coal and emerald exports. Between 2021 and 2022, thermal coal sales saw an impressive 276% growth.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, in 2019, Colombia exported a total of USD 366 million to Israel, with coal being a significant part of these exports. Of the total, 8% corresponded to non-mineral energy goods, where 81% were sales of coffee, flowers, sweets, cookies, and paper manufactures. In 2023, exports of mineral-energy products to Israel represent 93%, while the remaining 7% corresponds to non-mineral energy products, which have experienced growth compared to the same period in 2022.

An analysis by the National Association of Exporters (Analdex) indicates that in 2023, Israel is primarily a buyer of thermal coal from Colombia. Since 2012, the country has maintained a trade surplus that has increased in recent years, driven by sales of energy products. However, this surplus has decreased this year due to lower sales in mining and basic industry sectors.

Colombian exports to Israel in 2022 reached USD 1.075 billion, a significantly higher figure than the USD 319 million exported in 2021. This growth of 236.9% is mainly due to the increase in the sale of minerals such as thermal coal and emeralds. It is also important to highlight the increase in sales of fresh roses.

In summary, exports to Israel have experienced fluctuations in the last decade, with a notable growth in 2022. However, exports have decreased in 2023, mainly due to the decline in coal sales. Despite this trend, the trade of non-mineral-energy products has maintained positive growth in 2021 and 2022. Regarding imports from Israel, there is a reduction in 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, mainly in products such as telecommunications devices and dental prostheses.

It is important to note that Israel’s investments in Colombia are relatively low, representing less than 0.1% of the total investments in the country. On the other hand, Colombia has not made significant investments in Israel in recent years.

Published by Emirates Herald, a news and information agency.

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