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How to Import and Export Customs in Colombia

What are Colombia’s customs procedures and what free trade agreements does it have in effect?

Juan David Barbosa, partner of Customs and Internatonal Commerce of the law firm Posse Herrera Ruiz, presents the chapter “Custom’s Regime and Free Trade Agreements” of the 2019 Bogota’s Foreing Investment Guide.

Recently, Colombia issued Decree 1165 of 2019, which is a compilation of all the regulations for its customs regime. This instrument helps protect user security and, as a result, helps facilitate customs documentation and procedures.


Import regime:

Under different forms of imports, Decree 1165 of 2019 includes:

  • Regular imports, which are only subject to comply with all obligations and formalities.
  • Temporary imports, which are those that do not intend to remain in the territory indefinitely and are either in transit or under processing.
  • Postal traffic and urgent shipment imports for shipments that do not exceed USD 2,000.


Export regime: 

To export products from Colombia to another nation or free zone, the exporter must be authorized, which is the natural or legal person who requested and obtained a favorable risk classification certificate from the DIAN. The Single Tax Registry (RUT, Registro Único Tributario) must also be filed as an exporter – for which the position of the tariff subheading of the product to be exported must be determined, the applicable approvals needed in order to export the product must be obtained, and any corresponding customs procedures must be performed. 

Take into account

  • The Single Window of Foreign Trade (VUCE, Ventanilla Única de Comercio Exterior) is the main tool for facilitating trade in the country. It helps channel the foreign trade procedures of users with government entities. This facilitates the exchange of information, eliminates redundant procedures, helps implement efficient controls and promotes the transparency of administrative actions. 

Keep in mind

  • The new Customs Decree includes a risk management system for performing effective customs controls, combating smuggling and facilitating international trade. This system uses the data from those involved in the logistics chain and involved in payment and compliance matters regarding tax, customs and exchange obligations.
  • Regardless of whether Brexit is passed with a consensus or not, the existing commercial relationship between Colombia and the United Kingdom will not be affected. This is because in May 2019, the countries signed a new treaty that will allow for the commercial relationship to continue that currently exists under the agreement with the European Union.

Learn More Here

Download the complete chapter

Download the complete version of the investment guide, in which you will be able to learn more about the generalities, principles, types of foreign investment, international instruments for the foreign investment protection, among others.

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Since its foundation in 1927, Posse Herrera Ruiz has found comprehensive, creative, sound and value-added solutions that optimize returns on investments and minimize risks to clients by taking a multidisciplinary and systematic approach.

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