Uruguay - Country Commercial Guide
Import Tariffs

Includes information on average tariff rates and types that U.S. firms should be aware of when exporting to the market.

Last published date: 2021-11-08

Many goods enter Uruguay from Mercosur countries.  A Mercosur Common External Tariff (CET) on imports from non-member countries entered into effect in 1995.   Mercosur’s general rule is to apply a higher CET on higher-value-added imports.  There are numerous sectorial and national exceptions to Mercosur’s CET.  Sectorial exceptions apply to capital goods, information technology, and telecommunication goods.  At a national level, each Mercosur member may exempt a certain number of goods from the CET.  These exemptions, and the number of special import regimes in member countries, have greatly eroded the bloc’s CET.  Mercosur also lacks other mechanisms to become an effective customs union, such as a mechanism to distribute tariff revenues.  Thus, a good imported into a Mercosur country must pay another duty if re-exported to another member country.  Uruguay’s tariff structure consists of 19 rates that ranging from 0 to 35 percent.  The World Trade Organization reports that Uruguay has defined tariff rates, allowing 1,674 items to enter at a zero percent tariff rate, and applies a mean (simple average) tariff of 11 percent to the rest.  The products subject to a tariff of more than 20 percent are sunflower and cardamom oil; soybean oil, margarine, and other fixed vegetable fats and oils; milk and cream; mozzarella; cane or beet sugar; fruit and nuts; rubber-soled footwear; and motor vehicles for the transport of passengers and goods.  Most of these products are on Uruguay’s national list of exceptions to the CET or are products for which the CET has been temporarily modified.

Uruguay’s tariff structure is available at its Ministry of Economy webpage: https://www.gub.uy/ministerio-economia-finanzas/asesoria-politica-comercial.

Uruguay applies preferential tariffs on some imports, such as equipment for agriculture and hotels, capital goods, and on goods for projects that have been declared of national interest.  These goods are also eligible for tax exemptions.