I have mentioned Colombia many times before, and I’m going to talk about it more here.
But, the bigger picture I want to emphasize is the incredible opportunity that arises when countries, like Colombia, go through transitions.Yesterday, a formal ‘permanent cease fire’ was signed by both the Colombian government and it’s [former] opposition, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better knows as the FARC.
The bloody conflict had previously been going on for more than 50 years, leading to the deaths of well over 200,000 people. Additionally, millions of people were forced to migrate to different areas of Colombia throughout that time period.
As an outsider, whether you are in the US, Europe, India, or wherever, this whole conflict is hard to understand. Lots of people wonder why the Colombian government didn’t just go out into the jungles to capture all of the FARC rebels.
Of course, the situation isn’t that simple. It’s a very complex web of issues that involves everything from the Catholic Church to the United State’s war on drugs. I won’t even attempt to explain the full story, as I don’t even know all the facts.
There is one fact that I do know: Colombia is an incredibly rich country that has been waiting to explode into a thriving nation.Colombia is rich in natural resources, culture, workforce, and willingness to shake off their past to enter a new generation of prosperity.
So, instead of focusing on their problems, I want to highlight some opportunities that are just waiting.
Real estate is the first and most obvious topic that comes to most investors minds. This is the area I am focused on, though I warn you that it does not come without obstacles. Not only do you need a large capital investment, as financing is not really an option, but there are numerous pitfalls that a real estate investor could fall into.
An arguably better opportunity to take advantage of is the US – Colombia Trade Agreement. This agreement allows for the trade of many items between Colombia and the US with zero tariffs.If you are a small business owner, this could be a huge deal. Exporting your product from the US into a growing Colombian economy could be very profitable.
Inversely, exporting products from Colombia into the US also presents a profitable trade.
A quick story to illustrate my point…
Many Colombians travel to Panama or Florida to buy clothing because of absorbent taxes put on clothing that has been imported into Colombia by major brands. These Colombians would fill suitcases of brand name jeans, fly back to Colombia and make double or triple their money.
For a savvy US based entrepreneur, the door is still open to figure out a way to export clothing to Colombia that complies with the trade agreement.
There is an entire list of items that can be imported/exported that you can check out here. Maybe you can think of something else?
What are your thoughts on Colombian ETFs?
You’d have to look at what the ETF is made up of. Colombia is a major oil producer, so if the ETF has a lot of oil stocks, then you might be making an oil play versus a play on the actual country.
Also, it’s important to realize that a lot of other investors see potential in Colombia, but don’t actually travel there to take advantage. Instead, they buy ETFs, which can quickly drive up the price.
That said, Colombia ETFs are near their historical low…