Uruguay - Country Commercial Guide
Agricultural Equipment

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-11-07

Overview

 

2018

2019

2020

2021 (est.)

Total Local Production

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Total Exports

8

5

6

4

Total Imports

193

192

186

280

Imports from the U.S.

32

32

26

37

Total Market Size

185

187

180

276

Agriculture, which makes up about 12 percent of Uruguay’s GDP (though roughly 70 percent of exports are agriculture-based), plays a leading role in Uruguay’s economy, politics, and society.  Rising prices of international agricultural commodities and increased land prices incented Uruguayan farmers to invest heavily in machinery and equipment over the past several years.  These factors also promoted the development of an incipient domestic agricultural machinery production industry. There are currently 20 machinery manufacturers around the country, which mainly export to countries in the region such as Ecuador or Paraguay.  The Government of Uruguay has given tax incentives to the domestic agricultural machinery sector to promote investment in the sector.Source:  Transaction database—USD million—Products under HS codes:  8424, 8432, 8433, 8434, 8435, 8436, 8437, 8479, 8701, and 8716.

During 2020, agriculture equipment imports declined due to COVID-19 and its financial impact on the country. However, investment in this sector improved significantly during the first half of 2021.  An approximate 15 percent increase in commodity prices also helped spur investment in this sector.   The U.S. market has traditionally been the second or third largest supplier of agricultural equipment.  Since 2017 the U.S. market share has been an almost constant 16 percent (behind Brazil with 38 percent and above Argentina with 6 percent). U.S. brands manufactured mostly in Brazil and Argentina do very well in the market, but Chinese brands have been gaining market share.  Although demand for agricultural equipment has declined, there is appetite for pre-owned and refurbished machinery.  Also, the use of irrigation equipment has seen a robust increase recently.  In 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture began requiring a mandatory phytosanitary certificate for all used machinery imported into Uruguay.  This requirement caused some U.S. machinery to be rejected and increased the cost to import machinery.   

Leading Sub-Sectors

Uruguay imports nearly all its agricultural equipment.  The best sales prospects for U.S. equipment are (not ranked):

  • Data collection equipment such as global positioning systems, yield monitoring, soil sampling, crop and field scouting, and remote-sensing technologies used for monitoring soil properties and crop conditions.  Only a fraction of agricultural producers use this type of equipment.
  • Laser-controlled earth-leveling machinery.
  • Computerized management systems (used for livestock).  Food processing machinery and equipment used by food processing companies such as grain processing equipment, fruit, and vegetable processing equipment (separation, cleaning, etc.), meat processing equipment, poultry production equipment may also provide opportunities.
  • Chutes to discharge harvested grains into different storage devices.
  • Advanced turbine sprayers, and associated pumps.
  • Combines and other harvesting equipment.
  • Agricultural tractors: sales of refurbished tractors have been increasing.  U.S. brands are well regarded.
  • Parts and accessories for harvesters and tractors: demand is expected to increase because of increased utilization of machinery.
  • Cultivators and other solid preparation equipment (including plows, harrows, cultivators, seeders, and fertilizer spreaders).
  • Greenhouse and other vegetable production equipment: of interest is the growth of greenhouse production of organic products that, according to some estimates, has more than doubled over the last five years.  Uruguay has officially branded its natural and organic products “Uruguay Natural.”
  • Irrigation equipment: increasingly used to improve yields due to Uruguay’s unpredictable rainfall.  An irrigation law passed in 2017 provides incentives for the use of irrigation equipment.
  • Dairy equipment.
  • Storage buildings such as silos.  Prefabricated light, inexpensive farm storage buildings are potential opportunities.

Opportunities

Most agricultural machinery imports do not pay import duties when entering the Uruguayan market.  This is important because in this market sector U.S. products compete more equally against machinery imported from Mercosur countries.

Given periodic water scarcity in Uruguay, irrigation and well-drilling equipment have excellent prospects in this market.  Equipment that improves agricultural efficiency is also attractive to Uruguayan producers. Pre-owned and refurbished machinery with good post-sales service has good market prospects if suppliers ensure a reliable and stable supply of repair parts.

Web Resources

Uruguayan Mercantile Chamber