Colombia’s trade surplus tripled in 2009

Colombia’s trade surplus tripled in 2009 to $1.66 billion, up from $471 million the previous year, according to statistics released by the national statistics department DANE on Tuesday.

This dramatic increase was due to a 17% fall in imports, which was not matched by the fall in exports of only 12%.

In December, Colombia reported a trade surplus of $293 million.

Colombia’s biggest bilateral trade biggest surplus in 2009 was with the U.S., at $3.85 billion, followed by Venezuela, the Netherlands, Ecuador and the United Kingdom. The Andean nation’s biggest trade deficit was with China, at $2.53 billion, followed by Mexico, Brazil and France.

DANE attributed the reduction in imports to “lower purchases of appliances and electrical equipment (-28.6%), motor vehicles and parts (-27.5%) and iron and steel (-52.4%).” The biggest decline was in imports from the U.S.

Trade with Venezuela declined 33.5% in 2009, due to tension between the neighboring countries following Colombia’s military pact with the U.S., announced last year. Colombia’s Central Bank predicted in January that exports to Venezuela will fall to $1.5 billion in 2010, from more than $4 billion in 2009.

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