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  • Free Trade Zones

Free trade/industrial zones (zonas francas comerciales y/o industriales) were created in Colombia in 1958 with the establishment of the Barranquilla Free Industrial and Trading Zone. There are commercial free zones for free trade of goods, industrial free zones for the promotion of industrialization, technological free zones for the promotion of technological services, and tourist free zones for the promotion of tourism. Free-trade zones have regulations regarding customs and capital investment and enjoy certain tax benefits.

By Law 7 and Decree 2131 of 1991, the Government of Colombia authorized the liquidation of the assets and personnel of the public free trade zones and their privatization by June 30, 1994. Five trade zones owned by the Government were privatized (given for administration to the private sector under a concession contract):

- Barranquilla, the main port on the Atlantic Coast;
- Cartagena (Mamonal), perhaps the most important industrial zone in Colombia;
- Cúcuta, in the northeastern section of the country on the border with Venezuela;
- Palmaseca, close to the international airport in Cali (main city in the State of Valle del Cauca); and
- Santa Marta, on the Atlantic Coast.

The private sector, authorized by the above-mentioned legislation, has also constructed the following new free trade zones:

- Bogotá;
- Candelaria, in the city of Cartagena;
- Quindio, near the city of Armenia in the Colombian coffee region;
- Rio Negro, near the city of Medellín (State of Antioquia);
- Pacífico, near the city of Cali (State of Valle del Cauca); and
- Malambo, on the outskirts of Barranquilla (State of Atlántico).

Operators and developers of newly privatized or private free zones are exempt from income taxes. Foreign-owned industries are exempt from taxes on profits remitted abroad, and building materials, construction equipment, and capital equipment for manufacturing plants can be imported duty free. Inputs of goods and services for manufacturing exports can be imported free of customs duties.

  • Donia Free Trade Zone





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