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Growing opportunities in the Colombian textiles and apparel industry



Published August 28, 2013
Colombian textile and apparel exports are poised to shake up the international landscape, with a compounded growth rate of four percent since 1991, according to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. Over the past 22 years, the total value of textile exports has increased to $342 million, while the overall apparel sector has grown from $595 million to $775 million.

“Just 25 years ago, international companies looked to Colombia almost exclusively for garment assembly,” says Proexport president Maria Claudia Lacouture. “Today, businesses from more than 33 countries utilize Colombia’s wide range of apparel products and services, and hundreds of new international buyers visit for business each year."

Demand for high performance sportswear items is growing, with a specialized subdivision of Colombian companies focusing on technology and innovation to access the emergent sportswear market. Jeanswear are also amongst the most promising items, withfull package operations and creative lines, as well as uniforms, inspiring a new generation of Made in Colombia apparel.

With free trade agreements (FTAs) in force with the U.S. and Canada, Colombia is currently aiming to access these markets with products that contain value added, setting a new trade model.

To further take advantage of FTAs, Colombia hosted two major textile and fashion events that attracted more than 300 first time international buyers, including a large delegation from the U.S. and Canada. Some of the most popular products at Colombiamoda, a major fashion event in Medellin, and the 2013 International Children’s Fashion Exposition (EIMI) in Bucaramanga were items such as bathing suits, lingerie and high quality jeans.

Proexport Colombia, the entity in charge of trade, investment and tourism promotion, will lead a Business Matchmaking Forum in Chicago, September 4-5. The event will match over 300 Colombian exporters with Canadian and American buyers, where each attendee will have an opportunity of discovering Colombia’s wide array of products and services.

Proexport Colombia is the governmental entity in charge of supporting non-traditional exports (non-mining/energy related) as well as the promotion of Colombia as an international investment and tourism destination. Proexport Colombia offers free support and consultancy for business enterprises through its regional, national and international offices, located in more than 30 countries worldwide.