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Special Economic Zones for Exports

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What are the Special Economic Zones for Exports?

Special Economic zones for exports are areas located in the municipalities of Buenaventura, Cucuta, Valledupar or Ipiales to produce goods or provide services mainly meant to be exported.

Who are the ZEEE users?

ZEEE users may be any legal entity, regardless of the nationality, that celebrates an Admission Contract with the Government in one of the corresponding areas.
Likewise, users may be domestic and foreign legal entities legally established in Colombia with a commercial registration and tax identification number that perform development works, construction and infrastructure of basic services, technological and civil services, as well as those engaged in the training of specialized manpower resource within the geographical area of operation of the ZEEE.

What are the requirements for a project to qualify as eligible?

  • It must be a new investment.
  • The investment must be developed only within the geographical scope of the above mentioned municipalities.
  • The investment for projects submitted until December 31, 2015, must be of 35,000 Tax Value Units (“UVT” for its acronym in Spanish); for each project (approximately USD 414,127) and for projects submitted after December 31, 2015, the investment must be of 75,000 UVT for each project (approximately USD 887.416)
  • 50% of the total investment of the project must be materialized in the first year, according to the commitments made in the Admission Contract. It is possible to authorize longer investment schedules if it is sufficiently justified that the investment cannot be carried on within this term.
  • It is required that at least 50% of company sales are destined for foreign markets.
  • Assume the obligation to comply with quantifiable commitments on employment generation, incorporation of advanced technology, chaining with national industry, remaining in the specific area, clean production and preserving among others, economic, social and cultural aspects of the area.

The applicable requirements to legal entities interested in advancing in resource training projects and specialized manpower, urban infrastructure, road systems, public service networks, and in general, installations to ensure the different modes of transportation are:

  • Description of the project being developed.
  • Project´s financial and economic feasibility study.
  • Determination of the composition or possible composition of the company.
  • If it is applicable, obtain an environmental license in the competent authority.


How can a company access the benefits of the ZEEE?

It must subscribe an Admission Contract. For this purpose, the company must be rated eligible by the Selection Committee, which is composed by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the National Planning Department and the Mayor of the municipality in which the project will be located. In the case of projects that use agricultural raw materials, the Committee will also be integrated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The application must be filed to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, who is appointed as the Technical Secretariat. Upon completion of the proceedings before the Technical Secretariat, the entity will submit a technical report evaluation to the Selection Committee, who will decide on the eligibility of the project.

The contract must be signed by the legal representative of the company established in Colombia, the Colombian Tax Authority Director and the Mayor of the corresponding municipality. The duration of these contracts will be of at least 5 years, without exceeding 20 years.

Once the respective Admission Contract has been signed, the investor must provide a guarantee issued by a banking institution or an insurance company legally established in the country, within 10 business days of the signing of the relevant contract, on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism for 10% of the total value of the investment.

What are the benefits of the ZEEE?

  • In customs matters, the special regulations established for industrial users of goods and services of Free Trade Zones apply, in relation to the exemption from duties and VAT when equipment or raw materials from abroad are introduced.
  • Regarding the labor system, it is allowed to:
    • Generate working hours without night, dominical or holiday surcharges.
    • Deduct 50% of the payroll taxes.
    • Subscribe labor contracts applying the integral salary regime for workers with income of 3 minimum wages onwards.
  • Payments, account deposits and transfers abroad of interest and technical services by commercial companies are not subject to withholding tax or cause income or remittance taxes, as long as such payments are directly and exclusively linked to industrial activities carried on by companies incorporated for the execution of projects.
  • Infrastructure projects that are classified as eligible in the Special Economic Zones are exempt from income tax and supplementary over the revenue achieved in the development of activities that are authorized within the respective Zone (specialized human resource training, urban infrastructure, public utilities, road systems and facilities for transportation systems)
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Proexport Colombia  is the bureau in charge of tourism, foreign investment and export promotion in Colombia.

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