Uruguay - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.

Last published date: 2021-11-07

Uruguay has well-functioning democratic institutions, a rule-abiding population, and relatively little corruption.  In 2020, Uruguay was ranked 21 out of 180 countries by Transparency International due to the low levels of corruption. 

Uruguay has a strong banking sector which adheres to the latest international financial-sector standards.  Uruguay is strategically located and is politically and economically stable.  The current administration maintains open trade policies and good macroeconomic policies.  Elections took place in October 2019 and after 15 years the government changed from a left-leaning government to a center-right coalition led by now President Luis Lacalle Pou.   President Lacalle Pou leads the Partido Nacional political party which is known for relatively pro-market economic policies.  In his first few months in office, President Lacalle Pou created incentives for the construction sector, clean energy, and research & development although the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed the government’s short-term focus.

One of Uruguay’s major advantages are the country’s beneficial trade regimes such as Free Port/Airport, Bonded Warehouses and Free Trade Zones (FTZ).  Uruguay’s proximity to larger markets gives the country the ability to serve as a regional distribution hub for both services and logistics.  Products can enter Uruguay under these regimes without paying any tariffs or taxes and, in the case of FTZs, goods can be stored for an indefinite period prior to sale.  These goods are only taxed once they depart the FTZ.  The free trade regime has been in place for more than twenty years and Uruguay sends an estimated 30 percent of total exports through these zones annually.