Investing in Uruguay

Uruguay’s solid and stable institutional framework gives it an  advantageous position to attract investment. In addition to a  reputation for social and economic stability, the country offers  a suitable framework for visitors, tourists and investors. The  Legislative and Executive branches operate in an appropriate manner, judicial institutions act independently and there are  no significant bureaucratic costs. Foreign investments are  welcomed by people and legislation as well.

Uruguayan economy is evermore open with increasing  participation in the international market. Given the size of the domestic economy, exports play a significant role in local  development.

Services account for the largest part of GDP. The main sectors in  the services industry include retail, transport, communications,  financial services, insurance, real estate and professional  services. Agriculture and livestock production accounts for 10% of GDP.  Nevertheless, its importance on the economy is much greater  than this, since the agriculture and livestock sector supplies  most of the raw materials for the manufacturing industry, which  in turn exports much of its production. Manufacturing accounts  for 23% of GDP. The food, leather, textile, chemicals and forestry  product subsectors are noted for their size and contribution to  exports.

Due to the significant growth in exports, a rising degree of  economic liberalization has been observed over the last few  years, measured as the coefficient between imports and  exports over GDP. Services play a growing role in exports. 

Likewise, the country has received much foreign direct  investment in various sectors of activity. Long standing  traditions of legal guarantees, contract fulfillment and tax  benefits for new investments, coupled with a strategic  geographic location, high quality of life and safety are the  reasons why international investors select Uruguay.

Periodic wage adjustments are established by the Salary  Boards, which have been regulated by law and consist of  representatives from workers, businesses and the government. 

State incomes come principally from taxes collected through  the DGI (Dirección General Impositiva) tax bureau. However,  surpluses from state-owned companies also contribute to  public income. Public spending decisions are made through  a budget law that is passed during the first year of each  administration and adjustments are made in the following years.
Whichever the political party is in office, a responsible fiscal  policy has been the norm, and the primary surplus goals are  sought to be in harmony with public debt sustainability. By law, 
there is a maximum annual limit for new net government debt.

The Central Bank of Uruguay  is a technically,  administratively and financially autonomous entity. Its primary  objective is currency stability to contribute to economic growth 
and employment objectives.

Regulation and supervision of the operations of payment and  financial system seek to promote solidity, solvency, efficiency  and development.

Uruguay has stable internal prices with single-digit inflation. To  achieve currency stability, the Central Bank of Uruguay carries  out an inflation policy. As an instrument to achieve this, the  Monetary Policy Committee sets reference interest rates for  short-term inter-bank loans.

Uruguay has a reliable financial system with excellent liquidity  and solvency ratios and low default levels. After the regional financial crisis of 2002, deposits have risen  steadily. 
Uruguay has a long-standing tradition of recognizing citizens’  rights with regard to social security and labor relations. The  literacy rate is very high and nearly all of the population has 
access to education, health services, potable water, telephony  and electricity.

Recently, Uruguay put into practice an innovative program  in IT education, known as the Plan CEIBAL (Basic Computer  Technology Educational Connectivity for Online Learning).  The program’s objective is to promote social justice through  equal access to information and communication tools for all  the society. With this objective, internet connected laptop  computers are given to all school children in the public school  system throughout the country in an effort to make Uruguay the  country with the highest connectivity level in the world.

There are no ethnic or religious conflicts and public safety rates  are better than the regional average. 

In environmental matters, Uruguay has quality standards  recognized over the world. 

Some indicators that reflect the quality of life of Uruguayan  society are as follows:


  • Uruguay has the most progressive income distribution in Latin  America. 
  • Life expectancy: 76 years
  • Qualified labor force: 1 in 3 workers have technical or university  training. 
  • Literacy rate: 98% 
  • Doctors per 100,000 inhabitants: 365 
  • Infant mortality per 1,000 births: 13 
  • Uruguay is tobacco smoke free (6th in the world and 1st in South America)

Economic stability, adherence to general economic principles,  transparency and respect for contracts are the traditional  qualities of the Uruguayan political system and transcend the 
specific programs of various administrations.

Foreign investors may carry out any type of activity under the  same conditions as local investors. In certain industry sectors,  foreign investors can perform activities under public concession  agreements.

The tax system is neutral with respect to foreign investment. No  prior authorizations are required to make investments, except  for environmentally-related permits. The country has an attractive investment promotion system  that grants specific guarantees to the investor, denoting a high  degree of commitment by the government.

Legislation also expressly establishes tax privacy.

There are no limits on capital repatriation or profit transfer and no permits are required. 

The currency exchange market is free and has no limits on  foreign currency trading. Investments can be made in any  currency.

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