Uruguay - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector

Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects.

Last published date: 2021-11-08

Uruguay is not a member of the World Trade Organization´s Government Procurement Agreement yet it does participate as an observer in the WTO’s Government Procurement Committee.  Uruguay prefers to establish bilateral purchase agreements between individual governments. These agreements grant mutual open government procurement processes, national treatment for foreign firms and protect against discrimination among parties. While Uruguay actively promotes public procurement opportunities to foreign companies, it gives certain preferences to domestic products over foreign products when the two are of similar quality.

Uruguay’s Law on Accounting and Financial Administration governs the government procurement and contracting function.   Over the past decade, Uruguay has taken steps to enhance the efficiency and transparency of government procurement procedures and strengthened the country’s institutional procurement framework.  At the same time, Uruguay has used the government procurement system as a tool for promoting domestic industry by granting preferences to domestic producers.  For products to benefit from preferential treatment and to qualify as “national” products, they must contain at least 35 percent local content.

Following the issuance of the World Bank and IDB’s Country Procurement Assessment Report, the Government of Uruguay created the Agencia Reguladora de Compras Estatales (ARCE) in 2008 to manage state procurement.  This agency is part of the office of the Presidency and has technical autonomy from other ministries.  ARCE is responsible of the development and maintenance of the state’s registry of suppliers.

Uruguay’s state procurement agency, Agencia de Compras y Contrataciones del Estado (ACCE) manages public procurement policy.  ACCE has a Government-to-Business (G2B) website, http://www.comprasestatales.gub.uy, which lists tenders for government agency procurements.  The purpose of the site is to both increase transparency and reduce government procurement costs.  All government agencies issue procurements opportunities and public tenders for the purchase of products and services on this website.

There are two ways for companies to participate in public tenders.  Companies can either register as a supplier to the government of Uruguay, or U.S. firms can partner with a local firm to bid on a tender.  For U.S. firms to participate directly in government tenders, companies must register with the government.  To registered as a supplier to the Uruguayan government, please visit the Registro Unico de Proveedores del Estado (RUPE).  If a U.S. firm decides to partner with a Uruguayan firm to participate in the tender either the U.S. firm or the Uruguayan firm must register in the RUPE system.  

The government of Uruguay finances some public works projects with loans from multilateral development banks.  Please refer to the “Project Financing” section in “Trade and Project Financing” for more information.

Advocacy

U.S. companies bidding on Government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy.  A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies.  The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts.  Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government.  Consult Advocacy Center for Foreign Government Contracts and for additional information.

Financing of Projects

Project Financing: Multilateral entities such as Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank, and Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) finance major projects. 

Price, payment terms, and financing can be significant factors in winning a government contract.  Many governments finance public works projects through borrowing from Multilateral Development Banks (MDB).  A helpful guide for working with the MDBs is the Guide to Doing Business with the Multilateral Development Banks.  The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) has liaisons at each of the five different Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs):  the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the World BankLearn more by contacting the: