From: OVERSEAS BUSINESS REPORTS (URUGUAY)
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Match 14 DB Rec# - 26,281 Dataset-MARKET
Source : USDOC, International Trade Administration
Source key :IT
Program key :IT MARKET
Program :Market Research Reports
Update sched. :Monthly
ID number :IT MARKET 111104626
Title :URUGUAY - OVERSEAS BUSINESS REPORT - OBR9209
Data type :TEXT
End year :1992
Date of record:10/14/1992
Keywords 1 :
| ENTERPRISE FOR THE AMERICAS
| LATIN AMERICA
| LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES
| LATIN AMERICAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION
| LATIN AMERICAN GROUP
| ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
| SOUTH AMERICA
| SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES
| SOUTH AMERICAN GROUP
| WESTERN HEMISPHERE
URUGUAY - OVERSEAS BUSINESS REPORT - OBR9209
This article is derived from a report dated September 1992, prepared at the
U.S. Government - U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. The article
consists of 41 pages and discusses the economic and commercial climate in
Uruguay, with emphasis on information useful for potential U.S. sellers and
investors. It includes the following sections:
Foreign Trade Outlook
Major Development Projects
Free Trade Zones
Distribution and Sales Channels
Financial Systems and Banks
Investment for Development
Intellectual Property Protection
Guidance for Business Travelers
Sources of Economic and Commercial Information
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Country Profile, Demographics, Political Perspective, Privatization,
Current Account, GDP Growth, Inflation, Services, Debt,
Foreign Economic Trends
Foreign Trade Outlook
Exports and Imports
Uruguayan Exports to World
Uruguayan Imports From World
Major Development Projects
Government Procurement, Buy National
General Import Policy, Import Control Procedures, Tariff Structure,
Customs Duties, Import Surcharges - Dumping, Parts, Used Goods,
Temporary Imports, VAT and Excise Taxes, Mining and Manufacturing
Exemptions, Regional Preferences, Agricultural Exemptions, Import
Classification, Fines Penalties and Tolerances, US Export Administration
Free Trade Zones
Restrictions, Marketing and Labeling Goods, Documentation, Commercial
Invoice, Certification of Origin, Bill of Lading, Air Waybill, Parcel
Post Receipt, Coorection of Documents, Pytosanitary Certificate,
Distribution and Sales Channels
Agent-Distributor Relationships, Sales Methods, Business Practices,
Trade Events, Government and Business Associations
Ocean Shipping, River Transport, Air and Land Transport, In-Transit,
Financial Systems and Banks
Investment for Development
Policy, Law, Taxation, Restrictions, Technology Transfer, Trends,
Tax System, Mining and Manufacturing Exemptions, Performance
Requirements, Bilateral Investment Treaties and Agreements
Intellectual Property Protection
Background, Trademarks, Patents, Copyright, Product Requirements/Standards
Workforce, Labor Relations, Work Week, Fringe Benefits, Social Security
Guidance for Business Travelers
Language, Business Customs, Office Hours, Travel, Holidays
Climate and Clothing, Health, Travel Notes, Telecommunications,
Transportation, Time, Electricity
Sources of Economic and Commercial Information
U.S. Government, Bibliography, Other Sources
This report is designed to acquaint the U.S. business community with
Uruguay's commercial environment and to provide guidance on exporting to and
investing in Uruguay. U.S. suppliers should take note that the current
Uruguayan administration has adopted an export-oriented strategy for
economic growth. The administration is actively servicing its debt
obligations, aggressively promoting export diversification, and consistently
seeking to expand its agro-manufacturing sector. Controlling the inflation
rate is also a central part of the administration's economic program.
As part of its open market policies, Uruguay is committed to a floating
exchange rate and only intervenes in the exchange market in order to adjust
seasonal fluctuations in inflows and outflows. This policy, together with
liberal banking regulations, is beginning to attract international
Uruguay is a small country with a population of 3.1 million, mostly
concentrated in or near the capitol city of Montevideo. The country is
strategically located between South America's geographic and economic
giants, Argentina and Brazil. Almost 90 percent of the total land area of
the Uruguay is suitable for agriculture; traditionally making it an
agriculture-driven economy. Consequently, the economy has relied heavily on
the livestock and animal products industry. In 1991, the agriculture sector
provided about 11 percent of GDP, employed 18 percent of the total labor
force (1.4 million) and represented 60 percent of total exports.
Uruguay, has one of the lowest birth rates in the hemisphere, growing at an
average annual rate of 0.5 percent since 1980. The emigration of many young
people looking for jobs on neighboring countries, coupled with low
population growth, have resulted in an older population in comparison with
the rest of the Latin America. Uruguay's average age is close to 40. These
demographic trends have contributed to maintaining a stable unemployment
rate of about 9 percent for the past four years. Approximately 85 percent
of the population are urban dwellers, compared with 77 percent in 1960.
Beginning in March 1990, when President Lacalle's Government took office, he
began pushing for sweeping structural reform/changes in Uruguay's economy,
to overcome decades of steady economic decline and debilitating political
factionalism. His first targets were a lessening of the state's role in the
marketplace, by moving Uruguay towards privati-zation (see "Privatization"),
and reducing the overwhelming costs of an inefficient, nearly bankrupt
social security system. The first attempt at social security reform was
voted down by the legislature, but a second, less comprehensive effort is
likely to be successful in late 1992 or early 1993. The admini-stration is
also pursuing reductions in Uruguay's $7.2 billion foreign debt, reform of
the civil service (to make it a self-supporting proposition), and
improve-ment in the education and labor sectors of society.
Privatization efforts have achieved few solid results to date, but the
momentum has swung against public sector growth. Consequently, the public
sector has grown very little since 1989. The public sector deficit was down
to 2 percent that year and achieved 1.5 percent surplus in 1991.
The State Enterprise Reform Bill, passed October 1991, permits some
privatization. Chapter I of the law authorizes state entities, with the
approval of the Uruguayan president, to grant concessions for perfor-mance
of services. In all cases the grant must be done through a public bid.
Concessions can include the transfer of rights for use and enjoyment of
pro-perty and of personal rights and can create rights with respect to real
estate or personal property. The concession of rights to perform services
will be for a specified term. Concessions will not cover the right of
expropriation. This can only be exercised by the government.
There is leftist/nationalist opposition, however. In July 1992 the
government withstood an opposition-inspired referendum to revoke the law.
The effort failed. In October 1992 the opposition plans a second attempt,
by seeking partial revocation of the law. The effort is expected to fail.
State enterprises subject to privatization are normally characterized as
being indebted, over-staffed, and poorly managed. Exceptions are ANTEL,
profitable and relatively well-run telecommunications monopoly, and Banco
Pan de Azucar, the second largest bank in Uruguay, with deposits of $350
Under the new law, mixed ownership will be the norm. Foreign ownership will
usually be limited to 51 percent or less. For example, of the 51 percent
offered for PLUNA, the national airline, 2 percent must be Uruguayan,
theoretically keeping control in national hands. In the case of ANTEL, the
telecommunications monopoly, only 49 percent can be sold to foreign
partners. Bids on ANTEL are currently being reviewed.
ANCAP, state petroleum monopoly and Uruguay's largest company, is willing to
discuss sale of its cement, sugar and alcohol operations, but there are no
plans to give up its monopoly on gas imports or distribution of bottled
gas. UTE, the state electric authority, will offer the opportunity to set
up new distribution systems in sparsely-populated areas; construction of
privately-owned power stations within the next decade is unlikely, however.
Two of the government's priority privatizations are to be the Port of
Montevideo, including the transfer of stevedoring and other port services,
and the national airline (PLUNA). The government is also working on
regulations to allow the private sector to take over management of the free
zone in Colonia. The state-owned railroad, (AFE), will entertain private
sector proposals to offer passenger service.
Other areas to be privatized include: public works, such as the widening of
the Martin Garcia channel and construction of a Buenos Aires-Colonia bridge;
the Montevideo Gas Company; printing services for tickets for the national
lottery; data processing services for the government itself; concessions for
duty-free shops and other commercial airport services (excluding air traffic
control or security); ILPE, the state-owned fishing and sealing company; and
Banco Comercial, Banco Caja Obrera, Banco Pan de Azucar.
The Uruguay postal system is extremely inefficient, but no efforts are being
undertaken to privatize it. Rather, the country has a proliferation of
private carriers to meet the demand for services.
In May 1991, the Uruguayan Government became the first country to sign the
MERCOSUR Regional Free Trade Agreement. The other three signatory countries
are Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Uruguay's signing underscored the
importance it has given to this regional project, including its interest in
the potential free trade benefits of the United States' Enterprise for the
Uruguay hopes to capitalize on the regional benefits of the MERCOSUR by
promoting its comparatively advanced service industry (tourism and banking
account for over 40 percent of GDP). Considering the size and potential of
the regional markets involved in MERCOSUR (approximately 190 million
consumers), Uruguay's service sector holds great investment promise for the
Uruguay is also a member of the Latin American Integration Association
(ALADI). Under ALADI, Uruguay has bilateral trade agreements with 10 other
countries in Latin America and participates in many other multilateral
Uruguay's current account balance for 1991 reflected a $35 million surplus.
Net international reserves of the Central Bank have averaged almost one
billion dollars annually since 1987. Uruguay has also improved its 1991
debt service ratio to 35 percent of export earnings, representing the fourth
consecutive annual drop since 1987, when it stood at 52 percent. Also in
1991, the public sector registered a surplus of 1.5 percent, compared to a
deficit of 2.5 percent in 1990.
After achieving an impressive 7.5 percent real GDP growth in 1986 and 5.9
percent the following year, economic growth slowed to less than one percent
annually, until 1991. Preliminary estimates for 1991, however, indicate
renewed growth of 2.4 percent. A leading cause of this uneven performance
has been ineffective Government efforts to control inflation and the
extremely low levels of domestic investment that have prevailed since 1983.
Such investment represents approximately 5 percent of GDP.
The overvalued currencies of Argentina and Brazil increased demand within
Uruguay, reflecting the impact of visitors and depositors from those
countries on Uruguay's monetary flows and their contribution to the
inflationary process. More recently, however, the weaker currencies in
Argentina and Brazil enabled Uruguay to significantly reduced its inflation
rate in 1991 to 81.4 percent.
The government's ability to combat inflation effectively continues to be
hindered by a costly and inefficient social security system and unproductive
public enterprises. Recent indicators, however, suggest the situation is
improving. Inflation for the 12-month period ending July 1992 was 70.1
percent, less than one percentage point higher than the 12-month period
ended June 1992, but 35 percentage points lower than the 12-month period
ended June 1991. Peso devaluation in June 1992 was higher than the increase
in consumer prices, giving a dollar inflation rate of 10.8 percent for the
year ending June 1992. Uruguay hopes to lower inflation levels to between
30 to 50 percent by the end of 1993.
Uruguay's leading economic sector is services, particularly the tourism and
banking sectors. These represent approximately 40 percent of total GDP, and
continue to reflect three to four percent annual growth. In 1990, economic
problems in Argentina boosted non-resident deposits by 48 percent, while
tourism posted a $61.4 million travel account balance, down from $64.5
million in 1988.
Uruguay's $7.2 billion foreign debt makes it one of the highest per capita
foreign debtors in the hemisphere. Nevertheless, the country remains
current on its payments. The interest paid on the foreign debt increased in
1990. The reasons were the rise in international interest rates early in
the year; issuance of foreign currency treasury bonds with interest payable
at rates higher than international rates; and an increase in the amount of
the debt. Total interest paid in 1991 amounted to approximately $567
million, maintaining a debt service ratio of 35 percent, down from 46
percent in 1990.
Foreign Economic Trends
A more in-depth review of the Uruguayan economy is available in Foreign
Economic Trends (FET) on Uruguay. This is prepared annually by the American
Embassy in Montevideo and is available for $12.50 - Order Number
PB92-215623, and as part of the "Uruguay Country Set" from the National
Technical Information Service (NTIS). Orders for the "Set" can be made by
writing to: NTIS, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161; tel: (703)
The NTIS order number for the Uruguay Country Set is: PB92-215599 $26. The
FET is available from any U.S. Department of Commerce District Office or
through one of the more than 600 federal depository libraries of the
National Trade Data Bank Service (NTDB). The NTDB includes reports from
U.S. Executive Agencies.
FOREIGN TRADE OUTLOOK
Exports and Imports
In 1991, Uruguayan exports (FOB) decreased by 5 percent over the previous
year, going from $1.7 billion to $1.6 billion. The agricultural sector was
the leader, as it has been for many years, with meat and wool exports
accounting for approximately 35 percent of total export earnings. When
leather and wool products are included, agriculture's share of exports
exceeds 40 percent.
Leading Uruguayan exports in 1990 were leather, wool, and their derivatives
(i.e., footwear and textiles), and meat. Since many of the inputs for
Uruguay's export sector are imported, tariffs have been reduced and a freer
market trade regime adopted. The new tariff rates range from 10 to 24
Imports of $1.6 billion (CIF) continued their rapid increase in 1991,
recording a 21 percent growth over 1990. Preliminary 1992 figures indicate
import growth will continue. Growth rates of Uruguay's principle imports
were machinery and transport equipment (28.7%); chemicals, rubber and
plastics (24.3%); and oil and derivatives (16%).
Uruguay's most important trading partners in 1991 were, in rank order:
Brazil, Argentina, the United States, and Germany. The United States was
the third largest supplier to Uruguay (10% of all imports) and the country's
second largest export market (12% of all exports).
U.S. exports to Uruguay in 1991 were $216 million (FAS), up 58 percent from
$137 million in 1990. The leading U.S. exports to Uruguay in 1991 were ($US
millions): turbojets, turbupropellers and other gas turbines ($44 up from
just $.03 in 1990); ADP machines, parts for office machines ($19, up 81%);
telecom apparatus and parts ($8); perfumes, cosmetics and beauty aids ($7);
fertilizers ($5); medical equipment ($5); and cars and motorcycles ($3).
Recently, smaller export sectors that experienced even larger increases were
led by chemical products (organo-sulfur compounds) (100%); and perfume and
toilet waters (96%).
U.S. exports are closely tied to Uruguay's agricultural sector and its other
profitable economic activities -- banking and tourism. U.S. fertilizer
exports to Uruguay have increased by nearly 200 percent since 1989,
underscoring their importance to the Uruguay's export sector. U.S. computer
hardware/software and petroleum product exports also increased since 1989,
growing by 85 and 200 percent, respectively. The increase in U.S. computer
and peripheral exports responds to Uruguay's attempt to establish itself as
the sophisticated financial center in the region.
The U.S. imports from Uruguay increased by 46 percent in 1991, going from
$163 million (CV) to $238 million (CV). Livestock and animal products and
textiles accounted for 60 percent of the total, including: men's, women's,
children's overcoats, sweaters and suits $57 million; gold, non-monetary $52
million; bovine and other leather, fur skin articles $36 million; meats -
prepared and salted $26 million; fish $20 million; and footwear $14 million.
U.S. imports of Uruguayan goods were affected by the 1989 drought which
caused a sharp increase in livestock and animal products exports (14%) as
ranchers reduced the size of their herds. This reduction limited export
growth of this sector to the United States in 1990 and 1991.
Bilateral Trade Balance
The U.S.-Uruguay trade balance in 1991 showed a $22 million deficit for the
U.S., slightly lower than the $26 million deficit posted in 1990 (excluding
gold exports). The figure, however, follows a downward trend for Uruguay
surpluses vis-a-vis the United States. Since 1985, when the U.S. trade
deficit with Uruguay reached $493 million, the gap has been steadily closing.
URUGUAYAN EXPORTS TO WORLD
(FOB Value - US$ millions)*
1989 1990 1991
Livestock & Animal Products 391.6 422.3 375.9
Beef 183.6 215.7 135.3
Fish 65.0 61.7 101.6
Dairy Products 50.1 56.3 60.7
Other 67.1 59.5 58.9
Vegetable Products 167.9 192.2 207.4
Rice 87.2 102.3 115.8
Other 80.7 90.2 91.6
Fat, Oils and Waxes 7.1 6.7 7.0
Food, Beverages & Tobacco 48.7 66.5 70.6
Minerals 6.6 5.4 28.5
Chemicals 99.8 111.7 82.4
Tanning, Dyestuffs & Paint 32.5 33.0 17.4
Other 67.3 78.7 50.5
Plastic and Rubber Products 45.9 49.6 43.2
Hides, Leather, & Manufactures 235.2 234.3 216.6
Hides & Leather 129.3 129.4 118.0
Leather & Manufactures 105.9 104.9 98.6
Wool and Manufactures 485.0 486.8 430.7
Greasy, Washed & Tops 288.3 385.2 249.6
Wool Manufactures 196.7 178.6 181.1
Shoes, Hats, Umbrellas 14.0 17.7 19.3
Non-Metallic Mineral Manufactures 18.1 20.6 22.4
Other 78.9 79.1 100.7
Total 1,598.8 1,692.9 1,604.7
* U.S. Embassy Montevideo
URUGUAYAN IMPORTS FROM WORLD
(CIF Value - US$ millions)*
1989 1990 1991
Vegetable Products 47.4 57.1 62.8
Fats, Oils, and Waxes 5.3 7.7 6.9
Food,Beverages & Tobacco 28.2 30.3 49.3
Mineral Products 217.2 233.7 265.3
Crude Oil 138.8 175.2 206.9
Other 79.9 48.5 58.4
Chemicals 200.1 219.1 231.6
Organic Chemicals 56.5 69.1 65.3
Pharmaceuticals 17.4 21.3 27.4
Fertilizers 25.8 23.4 22.9
Dyestuffs and Paints 37.2 33.2 33.6
Other 63.5 72.1 82.4
Plastic and Rubber Products 100.7 114.5 119.8
Wood Pulp, Paper & Products 27.7 33.8 47.6
Textiles & Manufactures 58.3 65.7 87.5
Common Metal Manufactures 76.0 80.0 84.4
Machinery & Electrical Equipment 224.0 253.5 345.9
Transportation Equipment 130.7 140.0 183.7
Other 87.2 117.5 151.5
Total 1,202.8 1,342.9 1,636.3
* U.S. Embassy Montevideo
MARKET PROFILE - 1991
Exports (FOB) $1.63 billion - Major exports: textiles, wool, meat, leather
goods, fish. Leading export markets: Brazil, United States, China, West
Imports (CIF) $1.6 billion - Major imports: fuels and lubricants,
chemicals, raw materials, machinery, and transportation equipment. Leading
foreign suppliers: Brazil, Argentina, and United States.
Trade Balance minus $31 million.
Agriculture 60 percent of export earnings directly related to beef, fish and
Industry main activities - hides, processed agricultural goods, textiles and
apparel, and construction materials.
U.S. Exports (FAS) $216 million.
U.S. Imports (CV) $238 million.
Best U.S. Export Prospects
- fertilizers, computer hardware & software, telecommunications equipment,
medical and laboratory instru-ments, geriatric aids, food processing and
packaging equipment, synthetic and acrylic chemical compounds.
Current Account Balance $ 15 million
Foreign Exchange Reserves $840 million
Foreign Exchange Rate (pesos per $U.S.) 2,489
Foreign Investment $450 million, est. 34 percent is U.S
Foreign Debt $7.2 billion
GDP $10 billion
GDP Growth Rate 2.4 percent
Inflation 81.4 - 1991
Population 3.1 million.
Unemployment 8.5 percent of workforce
Workforce Approximately 1.4 million; of which 35
percent employed in industry, 18 percent
employed in agriculture.
Best U.S. export prospects to Uruguay include chemicals, (particularly
agricultural chemicals and fertilizers), plastics, computer hardware and
software, food processing machinery, medical equipment, laboratory
instruments, and telecommunications equipment. Uruguay's ambition to become
a regional financial center offers considerable potential for data
In the coming years, Uruguay's proportionately large elderly population will
create a good market for geriatric equipment and services. The growth of
both tourism and forestry are high on the Government's development plans and
represent excellent areas to explore for U.S. exporters and investors.
New food processing plants will be needed and require turn-key installations
for preparation of meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and beverages for
markets abroad, especially as Uruguay prepares for its participation in
U.S. exporters should not discount the possibility of selling used
machinery. Equipment thought of as obsolete in the United States can still
be of great use to local industry. Major determinants of whether to buy
used equipment are the same as for new: quality, price, payment terms,
delivery time, after-sales servicing, and compatibility with the existing
system. U.S. producers offering flexible, innovative, and competitive
credit terms will overcome a difficult hurdle in achieving export sales to
MAJOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
Some major projects funded by multilateral banks (World Bank, Inter-American
Development Bank) will provide new opportunities for U.S. goods and
services. Projects underway include:
Privatization programs for the: state-owned telecommunications company
(ANTEL); national airline (PLUNA); the gas company, and several port
services. (See "Privatization" for details)
Parana-Paraguay-Uruguay Rivers, a five-nation regional program for the
joint use of these rivers to transport goods to the Atlantic Ocean. Project
will require dredging, signaling, barges, and legal assistance services on
international waterway operations.
Cable television systems installation for capitol city of Montevideo;
tender to be announced in 1992.
Construction and operation of a natural gas common carrier pipeline between
Argentina and Uruguay, due to begin operation by 1995. Estimated cost is
Buenos Aires-Colinia Bridge to undertake construction and possibly
operation of a 32 mile toll bridge. Bridge connects the capitol city of
Buenos Aires, Argentina, with city of Colonia, Uruguay. Environmental
studies are underway; financial feasibility studies will probably be called
Additional projects, for which international financing is being sought,
include modernization of the health care and education sectors; expansion of
the telecommunications network; agriculture development and commercial
forestry; power generation and distribution for Montevideo; and municipal
infrastructure and services for Montevideo.
U.S. suppliers should be aware that, customarily, they are not authorized to
deal directly with Uruguayan government planners on a sub-contract basis.
Rather, the interested U.S. supplier should contact the U.S. engineering and
design firms and turnkey construction firms that have already won or are
expected to be awarded the bids in question.
Government procurement practices are well defined and strictly followed.
Tenders are customarily open to all bidders, foreign or domestic. If
specified in the tender, foreign bidders must be represented by a local
agent. A General Registry of suppliers is maintained by the General
A government decree requires that domestic products have preference over
foreign ones, provided domestic quality and performance are adequate to
Uruguay's needs. The margin of preference is customarily stated in the
tender. The Government usually favors local bidders, when their price is no
more than 10 percent higher than that of equivalent foreign bidders. Ten
percentage is below that required for international credit agencies,
including World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, which do not allow
for preference higher than 15 percent on local goods and services.
General Import Policy
Uruguay maintains a relatively open import system. There are generally no
prohibitions on products that can be imported. Tariffs are used to raise
revenues and encourage local production/processing, but do not impose a
significant barrier to importing needed products. Importers and exporters
have free access to foreign exchange markets and can freely negotiate
desired payment terms and arrangements.
The major Uruguayan publication with information on import duties and other
foreign trade regulatory material is the Manual Practico del Importador,
available from Centro de Estadisticas Nacionales y Comercio Internacional
del Uruguay (CENCI), Misiones 1361, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel/fax: (5982)
Specific inquiries, including current tariff rates, can be directed to the
Uruguay Desk, HCHB Room 3025, International Trade Administration, U.S.
Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230; tel: (202) 377-1495.
Import Control Procedures
Import controls are administered primarily through the Bank of the Oriental
Republic of Uruguay (BROU). The BROU administers the import registration
system and collects import surcharges and consular fees. All imports are
subject to registration (denuncia) prior to the placing of orders abroad.
The registrations are generally valid for 180 days, within which period
goods must be cleared through customs.
Few imports require special licenses or customs documents. Exceptions are
restricted products including: drugs, certain medical equipment and
chemicals, firearms, radioactive materials, fertilizers, vegetable
materials, frozen embryos, livestock, anabolics, sugar, seeds, hormones, and
Bull semen and frozen embryos must comply with complicated animal health
requirements in addition to being subject to special fees.
As of June 1992, Uruguay's tariff structure follows the "HS" or Harmonized
System of tariff nomenclature. All customs duties, surcharges, service
charges, and consular fees are consolidated in a Customs Unified Rate (TGA)
or "tasa global arancelaria."
The Ministry of Finance and Economy can establish pre-determined reference
or minimum pricing for imports. This practice is designed to prevent
suppliers selling at less than world market prices, and to prevent dumping
Currently, there are three levels of TGA or unified import rate charges,
ranging from zero to 24 percent: (a) a 24 percent maximum for finished
goods, excluding capital goods used in export related industries or
considered vital to the national interest; (b) up to 17 percent for
intermediate or semi-industrialized goods; and (c) up to 10 percent for raw
materials (not produced in Uruguay) and capital goods. Certain petroleum
products, precious metals and educational materials are exempt from the TGA
or are duty free.
As of January 1, 1993, the TGA range will be zero to 20 percent. Lower
rates will apply as follows: maximum for finished goods will be 20 percent;
maximum for intermediate will be 15 percent; no change for raw materials and
Import Surcharges - Dumping
Surcharges or IMADUMI (Impuesto Aduanero Unico a la Importacion), are
incorporated in the unified TGA, but may vary from 0 to 16, percent
according to the product. For example, it will be lowest for raw materials
and highest for finished or consumer goods. In the case of dumping, BROU
surcharges and the IMADUNI are assessed upon the higher of the C.I.F. value
or pre-determined reference price. Since the reference prices are expressed
in US$ per unit of measure, it is advisable that the U.S. exporters include
unit of measure figures in their shipping documentation.
Parts, spare parts and accessories imported with capital goods, not having a
national similar or intended for the energy or agriculture sector, will be
charged duty at a rate of 5 percent.
Import duties for used or second-hand goods are calculated on the following
basis: (1) goods up to two years old, are dutied at 90 percent of the price
of new goods; (2) goods between two and four years old, are dutied at 70
percent of price of new goods.
These duties will not be applied to second-hand capital goods imported for
industrial purposes, provided the value is more than $40,000, and which have
a "certificate of necessity" issued by the Ministry of Industry and Energy.
Merchandise entering the country under temporary admission does not pay
VAT and Excise Taxes
In addition to the aforementioned TGA duties and charges, a 22 percent
value-added tax (VAT) is assessed on the sale of Uruguayan imported goods
and agricultural products, once they clear customs. The VAT is compounded
or based upon the CIF value plus the TGA. A small number of goods,
including medicines and certain food and farming products, are subject to a
reduced VAT rate of 12 percent. Items exempt from the VAT include certain
petroleum products, precious metals, and educational materials; they are
also exempt from TGA duties.
Some goods are subject to excise taxes such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco,
motor vehicles, lubricants, cosmetics, and perfumes. Excise taxes are also
levied on imports but only when the importer is not a business. Otherwise,
only a sales tax or VAT applies.
Port or airport service fees ranging between 2 and 7 percent of the C.I.F.
value are assessed on imports and included within the TGA.
Mining and Manufacturing Exemptions
Since 1986, imports of machinery and equipment for the mining and
manufacturing sectors are exempt from import duties and the VAT, provided
said imports do not compete with local products.
As a member of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), Uruguay
has negotiated preferential duty rates for certain products with several
other Latin countries. The origin of the import is therefore important, as
products from ALADI member countries are allowed into Uruguay without the
application of surcharges and often at reduced tariff rates.
Since 1991, Uruguay has been a member of the Southern Common Market or
MERCOSUR, along with Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. This is the first
stage in the MERCOSUR countries' plan to come within the free trade benefits
of the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative.
Current MERCOSUR tariff levels, applicable to Uruguayan imports, are 4.6,
9.2, and 13.8 percent instead of the 10, 17, or 24 percent TGA rates
Certain agricultural imports are entitled to full or partial exemption from
TGA and VAT charges, e.g., imports by the public sector, imports under the
temporary admission regime, and goods imported under provisions of the
Foreign Investment and Industrial Promotion Laws. Exporters should contact
their importers or Uruguayan officials for details of the tariffs and fees
system as categories, rates, and exceptions are subject to change.
Customs valuation may be required from the Office of the Director General of
Customs, where there is a question concerning a supplier's classification
and/or his CIF valuation. In such circumstances, the importer or his
customs broker must get approval for the import, as follows: (1) a written
request describing merchandise in question, its material makeup, its use,
and destination; (2) designation of mark, number, quantity, and class of the
container; (3) listing of customs classification and value the importer
believes should apply to the goods; and (4) reference to the consular
invoice covering the goods must also be clearly indicated.
Fines Penalties and Tolerances
Deception on the part of the importer or altering the value of imports is
considered fraud. Fraud is also presumed in the following cases, without
proof to the contrary:
1. Cases where the normal price fixed in accord with the Brussels Definition
of Value exceeds by a minimum of 100 percent the value declared by the
2. Cases where details on forms required by the Direccion Nacional de
Aduanas for control of valuation are omitted or incorrectly noted.
3. In cases of fraud or smuggling the applicable duty is generally double
the basic rate. A 10 percent variation or tolerance in the physical volume
of the merchandise is allowed, but not larger differences in origin,
quality, and measures.
U.S Export Administration
In addition to Uruguayan import regulations, U.S. exporters must comply with
U.S. Government export controls. Export Administration regulations are
issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce to implement the Export
Administration Act of 1979. A validated export license is required for U.S.
exports that fall into the following categories:
(1) "Strategic" commodities to any destination. Generally speaking, a
"strategic" commodity is one that U.S. Government believes can contribute to
the design, manufacture, or utilization of military hardware.
(2) "Short supply" commodities to any destination. A "short supply"
commodity is one of which unrestricted exportation would excessively drain
U.S. supplies and have a serious inflationary impact on the U.S. economy.
(3) Any other commodity to a destination in which there is foreign policy or
national security concerns.
(4) "Unpublished" technical data to certain destinations. The term
"unpublished technical data" applies to technical information, generally
related to design, production, or use of a product that is not available to
the public. It is knowledge not described in detail in books, magazines, or
pamphlets, nor is it taught in colleges or universities. To determine
whether an export product is subject to U.S. controls, exporters should
refer to the Commodity Control List (CCL) of Export Administration
Regulations. The official source of information is the Exporter's Service
Staff, Bureau of Export Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce: Eastern
Division (714) 660-0144. Another convenient source is a local Department of
Commerce district office.
FREE TRADE ZONES
The Free Trade Zone Law authorizes storage and warehousing, manufacturing,
financial, data processing or related professional activity. All types of
industry, trading centers and services are authorized.
Several zones exist throughout Uruguay, while the two largest and most
efficient are Colonia, across the River Plate from Buenos Aires, and Nueva
Palmira, 70 miles further north at the intersection of the Plate and the
Parana River (the main water route to Paraguay). A new private free zone is
being established in the outskirts of Montevideo.
The law is flexible in providing for additional free trade zones.
Presumably, even a single industrial plant, if large enough, could qualify
for free zone treatment.
The following advantages are granted industries in the free zones:
Users are exempt from either present or future Uruguayan taxes on their
activities. The only exception is employer contributions to social security
for Uruguayan employees.
Uruguayan employees should constitute at least 75 percent of the labor
force employed by the industry/company.
Foreign employees, if they waive coverage of Uruguayan social security,
employer may be exempted from having to contribute to social security.
Goods, services, products or raw materials imported into the zones are
exempt from all import duties or taxes, while in the zone.
Goods entering the greater Uruguay market from the free trade zones are
treated as Uruguayan imports for all tax and other legal purposes.
The National Port Administration cannot charge free trade zone users
amounts in excess of actual direct costs of services rendered.
Public agencies supplying services or inputs to free trade zone users are
entitled to apply promotional rates.
Government industrial or commercial monopolies, operating outside the free
zones, gain no special monopoly rights when operating within the free zones.
Cabotage or coastal shipping is reserved for national vessels, i.e. those
which fly the Uruguayan flag, are registered in the country, are commanded
by Uruguayan captains, have national property recorded in the registry, and
have at least one-third Uruguayan crew. Coastwise trade vessels enjoy
special benefits provided by law. In practice, however, as there are few
nationally registered vessels, as the restrictions are not applied.
Marketing and Labeling Goods
Uruguayan Customs requires packages to be marked in the following way,
otherwise merchandise may be subject to a 10 percent surcharge on the import
a) description of contents;
b) distinguished mark, port, country;
c) weight in kilos;
d) ultimate destination;
e) the number of the package.
The identifying marks must be in Spanish and be applied with the indelible
ink of a brilliant color. Marking on boxes, cases, bales, bags, and fiber
drums must be placed on the sides in such a manner as to be visible when the
units are stacked. Metallic drums must be marked on both ends. Containers
of toxic substances must be marked "veneno" (poison), and bear the skull and
crossbones mark, as well as the name of the substance. Retail goods should
be marked in Spanish with the name of the country of origin in a visible
place. The legend "Made in the USA" is acceptable. All products must show
on container labels the quality and net weight and measure in metric units.
Shipping documents for goods sent by ocean freight must be presented for
consular legalization by the steamship company prior to the sailing date.
Documents for shipments by other modes of transport - air cargo, parcel post
- can be presented by the exporter. When immediate return of any document
is requested, a letter to this effect must be submitted in triplicate along
with the appropriate fee to customs officials.
Customs requires one original and three copies of the commercial invoice
either in Spanish, or in English with a Spanish translation. Invoice must
show: (1) country of origin; (2) FOB value (port of shipment); and (3) in
the case of CIF, all related expenses. It is recommended that exporters
include kilogram weight on shipment documents since tariffs on some imported
goods are based on the higher of the CIF value or predetermined reference
prices, expressed in $US per unit of measure. For air freight or ocean
freight shipments, the invoice must be legalized by a Uruguayan consulate.
Certification by a recognized Chamber of Commerce is not usually required.
Occasionally, it can be required, however, to verify price and origin of
machinery and spare parts for industrial installations, raw materials, and
agricultural implements. No special form is needed. Suppliers should check
with importers to determine when certification is necessary.
For mail shipments, one copy of the commercial invoice must be included in
each package and the others sent by airmail directly to the consignee.
Invoices on mail shipments do not require consular legalization in the
United States, and usually do not require Chamber of Commerce
certification. Parcels will not be accepted for mailing unless wrappers are
marked "Invoice Enclosed". For gift parcels, commercial invoice may consist
of a simple statement showing the names of the consignor and consignee,
indicating the parcel contains a gift and no charge is to be involved.
Certification of Origin
This is not usually required, as the commercial invoice normally includes
information on the goods' country of origin. However, importers or banks
may require a certificate of origin for their own purposes.
Bill of Lading
Three originals and two non-negotiable copies are required for ocean freight
shipments. Since August 1, 1992, registration or legalization can be
accomplished in Uruguay, by the steamship company in question. Bills of
lading and other shipping documents for ocean freight shipments may still be
submitted to the Consular Office in New York, if so desired. Shippers using
services of other consular offices in the United States should check with
them concerning their documentation procedures. The bill
of lading can be legalized in Uruguay for shipments originating in a port
not having a Uruguayan Consulate.
Bills of lading customarily show the name of the shipper, name and address
of the consignee, port of destination, description of goods, listing of
freight and other charts, number of bills of lading in the full set, and
date and signature of carrier's official acknowledgement of receipt on board
of the goods for shipment. The information should correspond with that
shown on the invoices and the packages.
The bill of lading may show more than one mark, but only one consignee.
Goods sent to Uruguay in transit to another country or a free port cannot be
shipped on a "to order" bill of lading; they must be consigned to a
commercial firm established in Uruguay or to shipping agents, freight
forwarders, consignees, or representatives, who will be held responsible for
any irregularities resulting from transshipment.
On air cargo shipments the air waybill replaces the bill of lading. One
original and two copies in Spanish or English, along with the other
necessary shipping documents, must be presented to the consulate for
legalization. This regulation is strictly enforced. The flight number and
date of flight should be left blank on air waybills presented to the
consular office in New York. The international airport for exporting the
good must be within the jurisdiction of Uruguay's consular office in New
York for it to legalize documents. the name of the airport should be shown
on the air waybill. Uruguayan consulates will not accept documents with
writing between lines, crossouts, erasures, etc. Shippers should check with
other consulates concerning this requirement.
Parcel Post Receipt
On parcel post shipments, the parcel post receipt re-places the bill of
lading. These shipments are treated the same as ocean freight shipments.
Parcel post shipments do require legalization by Uruguayan con-sular
authorities in the United States. Shipment of the following items is either
restricted or specifically prohibited: articles of gold or silver, precious
stones, jewelry or other precious articles; paper money, coins, and
valuables payable to the bearer; used clothing unless accompanied by a
notarized certificate of disinfection; and firearms.
Correction of Documents
Once legalized, the commercial invoice may not be corrected or altered. A
letter of correction must be prepared in Spanish, on the shipper's
letterhead, and must be presented to the consulate for legalization. Three
to four copies are required, depending upon the consulate. One copy is
retained by the consulate and two copies are returned to the shipper who
sends the original to the consignee and keeps one copy for his files.
Shippers must present a letter of correction to the consulate within 96
hours. If errors are discovered after this time, shippers should contact
the consulate for assistance.
This is required for all shipments of live animals, animal products and
agricultural products. An original and two copies (in Spanish) must certify
that the shipment has been inspected and is free of disease. Agricultural
and animal products in question include: seeds, grains and plants, fresh
fruit, milk products, and meats. Both copies must be presented to a
Uruguayan consulate for legalization along with all shipping documentation.
Phytosanitary certificates may be obtained from the appropriate U.S. state
or local health authority or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS has offices in major U.S.
ports and airports. APHIS must issue the certificate in the case of all
export shipments of livestock. Such certificates must subsequently be
Because of the complexity of Uruguayan sanitary and health regulations, U.S.
shippers are advised to obtain detailed information directly from their
importer prior to shipment. Contact: Regulatory Services Staff, Plant
Protection and Quarantine, (APHIS), U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Hyattsville, MD 20762;
tel: (301) 436-8537.
Pharmaceuticals must be approved by the Ministry of Public Health and be
covered by a sales permit, before they may be marketed in Uruguay.
Veterinary specialties must be officially tested or approved before they can
be imported. Imported insecticides and fungicides for agriculture cannot be
sold in Uruguay before they are registered with, and have been issued sales
permits by, the Bureau of Agronomy of the Ministry of Livestock and
DISTRIBUTION AND SALES CHANNELS
A foreign supplier should be thorough in selection of an agent or local
representative. For this purpose, the supplier may wish to take advantage
of U.S. Commerce Department services. These include the Agent/Distributor
Service (ADS), which helps identify prospective/interested agents and
distributors, and a customized market study called the Comparison Shopping
Service (CSS), which can identify potential, local representation.
The supplier should make clear in the contractual agreement between the
parties whether their relationship is that of employer-employee or whether
it is merely a commission-based relationship. Failure to do so could result
in supplier liability for severance and related benefits if he or she
determines to cancel the relationship.
For example, supplier relationships with local representatives are normally
governed by the type of commercial, contractual agreement established between the parties. If the relationship is strictly based on commission,
the contract should so state. In such circumstances, the contract may be
canceled, for whatever reason, and the supplier is not liable for any
work-related indemnification. Conversely, the foreign supplier is committed
to a direct employer-employee relationship when said supplier hires a number
of employees: (a) to perform specified duties; (b) at specified times; and
(c) at specified places. Under such conditions the supplier is responsible
for all compensation issues.
Foreign manufacturers enjoying sustained sales of their products imported
into Uruguay typically use the services of an agent or distributor.
Practically all importers/distributors are based in Montevideo, although
some maintain sales networks in the interior of the Uruguay. They build
inventories and, at times, import products on behalf of others, collecting
commissions on sales. Some agents specialize in selling to government
agencies. A U.S. firm with a local representative has the advantage of
keeping up to date with local market conditions, as well as with changes in
policies affecting trade.
U.S. manufacturers will find that the major factors affecting a decision to
buy their products are:
- price and payment terms
- delivery time
- after-sales servicing
- compatibility with installed system
U.S. manufactured products are generally regarded as high in quality and
competitive in price. Sometimes, however, they are rated low on the
important factor of financing. To overcome the latter, U.S. suppliers
should offer flexible, innovative, and competitive credit terms. Further,
U.S. exporters should be prepared to adjust to Uruguay's small-sized
orders. The possibilities for selling quality used equipment also exists.
Machinery often thought obsolete in the United States can still be utilized
by local industry. The most successful foreign manufacturers maintain a
substantial market presence in Uruguay through the following techniques.
Training for sales and service personnel is crucial with the more
technologically advanced equipment. Successful foreign manufacturers
provide training programs for their personnel or agents/distributors. Some
American manufacturers have found it necessary and beneficial to bring
selected personnel to the United States for on-site training and orientation
at the manufacturers' principle plant.
Training and instruction for prospective buyers is often offered free.
Some American manufacturers bring prospective buyers to the United States
for a first-hand view of the manufacturing facility and to provide more
direct familiarization with the supplier's entire line of equipment and
Sales brochures, in Spanish, are an effective means of introducing
equipment. Recommended follow up would be frequent visits to prospective
buyers to further outline the features and advantages of a supplier's
product. Companies who wish to sell equipment to the Uruguayan Government
should supply product literature and quotations to selected government
purchasing offices. These frequently refer to said literature when drafting
specifications for bid tenders.
Regional supply, service, and repair facilities are essential. Some
manufacturers have achieved sales through their ability to provide repair
services, assistance with difficult operational problems, and rapid delivery
of spare parts through their regional repair and supply facilities operating
out of larger markets in Argentina and Brazil.
The major U.S. export promotion activity in Uruguay is the U.S. pavilion at
the annual "Prado" international agriculture and industrial fair, each
August. Attendance at the fair in 1992 was estimated at over 500,000.
Participation at this event is an excellent opportunity to introduce U.S.
products and services to the local market.
U.S. firms can participate by exhibiting products/services in a booth or by
sending catalogues for display at the exhibition. Further information on
the Prado, or about other U.S. trade promotion events in Uruguay, can be
obtained by contacting Paul Larsen or Robert Orter, Economic/Commercial
Section of the American Embassy, Montevideo; tel: (5982)-236061 or FAX:
(5982)-488611. Additional information is also available at the nearest U.S.
Department of Commerce Office in all major U.S. commercial centers.
URUGUAYAN GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION IN THE UNITED STATES
Embassy and Consulate of Uruguay
1918 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Uruguayan Government Trade Bureau
37737 3rd Ave., 37th Floor
New York, New York 10017
New York: Consulate General
747 3rd Ave., 37th Floor
New York, New York 10017
Chicago: (Honorary Consulate)
33 N. Dearborn Street, Suite 1520
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Los Angeles: Consulate General
Pacific Plaza Tower
1431 Ocean Ave., No. 1100
Santa Monica, California 90401
Miami: Consulate General
111 2nd Ave., N.E., Suite 1717
Miami, Florida 331132
New Orleans: Consulate
Suite 609, 611 Gravier St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
San Juan: (Honorary Consulate)
San Juan, P.R. 00906
Bank of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay
1270 Avenue of the Americas, 30th Floor
New York, New York 10020.
KEY URUGUAYAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES
Direccion para Asuntos Politicos y Economicos
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Directorate General of Economic & Commercial Affairs)
18 Julio 1205,
Tel: (598-2) 90-23-09
MINISTERIO DE ECONOMIA Y FINANZAS
Direccion General de Comercio Exterior
(Ministry of Economy and Finance
General Directorate of Foreign Trade)
Tel: (598-2) 92-03-19 or 92-07-36
MINISTERIO DE INDUSTRIA Y ENERGIA
(Ministry of Industry and Energy)
Tel: (598-2) 90-02-31
MINISTERIO DE GANADERIA, AGRICULTURA Y PESCA
(Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, & Fisheries)
Tel: (598-2) 30-41-55
MINISTERIO DE TRANSPORTE Y OBRAS PUBLICAS
(Ministry of Transportation and Public Works)
Tel: (598-2) 95-83-33.
OFICINA DE PLANAMIENTO Y PRESUPEUSTO
(Planning and Budget Office)
Edificio Libertad, Piso 3
Tel: (598-2) 80-81-10.
BANCO CENTRAL DEL URUGUAY
(Central Bank of Uruguay)
Paysandu y Florida
Tel: (598-2) 98-50-08 or 98-20-90.
BANCO DE LA REPUBLICA ORIENTAL DEL URUGUAY
(Bank of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay)
Tel: (598-2) 95-01-57.
COMMITTEE FOR INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT
Executive Government Office
Avda. Luis Alberto de Herrera 3050
Tel: (598-2) 80-81-10 x-2344
Telex: UY-DICOPRE 22280.
URUGUAYAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS
URUGUAY-U.S.A. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Bartolome Mitre 1337
Tel: (598-2) 95-90-59.
CAMARA NACIONAL DE COMERCIO Y BOLSA DE VALORES
(Nacional Chamber of Commerce & Stock Exchange)
Misiones 1400, Piso 2
Tel: (598-2) 96-12-77.
CAMARA DE INDUSTRIAS DEL URUGUAY
(Chamber of Industries of Uruguay)
Av. Lib. Brig. Gral
Lavalleja 1670, Piso 1
Tel: (598-2) 90-19-41/42.
UNION DE EXPORTADORES
(Union of Exporters)
Rincon 454, Piso 2,
Tel: (598-2) 96-11-17.
Most Uruguayan imports arrive by ocean vessels. The transit time for from
New York to Montevideo is approximately 24 days. Customs and other freight
clearance procedures can add an additional 10 to 14 days to shipping time.
The country's shipping port and port warehouse facilities are adequate and
generally well equipped. However, deep-water high capacity arrangements are
lacking, and The Port of Montevideo is poorly managed and is scheduled for
privatization. As a result, accumulations in open storage can occur. The
port is also subject to frequent strikes by port workers which may cause
several delays in loading and unloading ships.
River traffic in Uruguay is growing steadily in the face of higher fuel
costs for land carriers. The only navigable inner waterway is Uruguay
River, a deep international passage originating in Brazil and flowing south
to join with the Parana to form the River Plate estuary. The Uruguay River
is navigable by ocean-going vessels taking cargo to Nueva Palmira and from
Fray Bentos, two small beef and grain outlets, located 155 miles and 214
miles from Montevideo, respectively. Coastal ships take supplies to
population areas north of Fray Bentos and berth freely at Paysandu,
Uruguay's second largest industrial city, 300 miles upstream from
There are active plans to further develop Nueva Palmira as the terminus of
an integrated Parana-Paraguay river transport system linking Bolivia and the
Air and Land Transport
Several airlines have frequent service from the United States, Europe, and
Latin America to Montevideo's Carrasco International Airport (about ten
miles outside of the city). Another airport in Maldonado serves the tourist
trade in the summer. Uruguay is considered a potential regional center for
Uruguayan importers pay a 4 percent ad valorem tax on all freight arriving
via a foreign-registered airlines. Freight which arrives by the state-owned
airline is exempt from this tax.
In Uruguay, there are 49,900 km. of roads, of which 6,700 km. are paved and
3,000 km. are gravel. Domestic passenger transportation is mainly by bus.
Most inland transportation is by truck, as railway service can be slow.
Within Montevideo, bus service is inexpensive. Taxis are reasonable, but
hard to find during rush hours. Main roads are good and secondary roads are
Goods may be shipped on an in-transit basis. However, all merchandise
arriving on this basis can be reshipped only after it has been consigned to
a local commercial firm or representative responsible for any
irregularities. Goods to be reshipped are cleared in the same manner as
goods cleared for entry.
Uruguay is a signatory to the 1975 Customs Convention on the International
Transport of Goods. The convention is designed to facilitate the
international movement of motor vehicles and containers of goods from the
country of origin through one or more intermediate nations to the country of
destination, without mandatory discharge of cargo at each customs border
inspection point. The TIR carnet is an international customs document,
guaranteeing payment of duties, taxes, and other charges in the event the
persons transporting the goods fail to comply with national laws and
Ocean cargo service is provided by the following steamship lines:
Sailing from Atlantic Ports
AmTrans (U.S. Flag) (from Boston, New York/Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia,
Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, and Miami to Montevideo).
Bottacchi Line (Argentine Flag) (from New York/Newark, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, and Boston to Montevideo).
Columbus Line (from New York/Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston,
Jacksonville, Miami, Savannah, and Boston to Montevideo).
ELMA (Argentine Flag) (from New York/Newark, Baltimore, Charleston, Boston,
Jacksonville, Miami, Philadelphia, and Savannah to Montevideo).
Ivaran Lines (Norwegian Flag) (from Baltimore, Charleston, Miami,
Jacksonville, New York/Newark, Philadelphia, and Savannah to Montevideo).
Sailing from Gulf Ports (from Houston and New Orleans to Montevideo)
AmTrans (U.S. Flag)
Bottacchi S.A. de Navegacion (Argentine Flag)
Ivaran Lines (Norwegian Flag)
Sailing from Pacific and North Ports
Ivaran Lines (from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland to
The banking system in Uruguay is comprised of the Central Bank of Uruguay
(BCU), four state-owned banks - Banco Caja Obrera and Banco Pan de Azucar,
the Bank of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (BROU) and the Mortgage Bank
(BHU), 20 private commercial banks, 13 casa bancarias, (financial houses
with limited banking functions), and numerous foreign exchange dealers.
Central Bank of Uruguay (Banco Central del Uruguay)
The Central Bank of Uruguay (BCU) was established in 1966 and charged with
the responsibility for: (1) formulating and executing monetary and credit
policies; (2) supervising and controlling the banking system; (3) issuing
currency; and (4) managing international reserves.
In addition to its central banking activities, the BCU administers various
development credit lines provided by international and bilateral
institutions for financing of industrial crop, livestock, and fishing
activities, and two guarantee funds insuring financial intermediaries
against borrower default on long-term credits.
Bank of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay - BROU
The BROU, a multi-purpose, Government-owned commercial bank, established in
1896, is the largest credit institution in Uruguay. It handles all
financial transactions of the central and provincial governments, performs
certain fiscal and foreign trade-related duties (e.g., collection of some
duties and tariffs, control of foreign exchange proceeds from export), and
provides about three-quarters of the total bank financing to the private
Until 1966, when the Central Bank was established, the BROU was also the
country's monetary authority. Its physical network covers the entire
country and includes 82 branches in the interior, and 20 in Montevideo. It
also operates a branch in New York City, agencies in San Paulo and Porto
Alegre (Brazil), Asuncion (Paraguay), and Buenos Aires (Argentina). The
major private sector activities financed by the BROU include agriculture,
foreign trade, social and consumer purchases, and the export meatpacking
industry. Roughly 90 percent of BROU's private sector credit is
short-term. The BROU's Development Division handles most of BROU's
The BROU is not subject to outside bank regulatory control. Representatives
of BROU participate on the boards of several government agencies. BROU
consults with government economic policymakers, although, by tradition, it
retains considerable autonomy in determining overall lending priorities.
Mortgage Bank of Uruguay (Banco Hipotecario de Uruguay - BHU)
The BHU is the only mortgage bank in Uruguay and the principal intermediary
of medium and long-term funds for housing in the country. About a third of
the bank's lending, which is all long-term, has been channeled into the
construction of low-income public housing. The latter is under contractual
arrangements with municipalities and various central government agencies.
The remaining two-thirds is provided to the private sector, chiefly to
builders for the construction of housing for middle-income families and
individuals. The BHU plays an important role in mobilizing domestic savings
through mortgage bonds marketed on the Montevideo Stock Exchange and indexed
savings accounts. The bank operates through one main office and 21 branches
throughout the country.
Among the weaknesses of Uruguay's financial sector is the non-existence of a
private mortgage market. The near impossibility of foreclosure has made
such lending far too risky. Some foreign banks have moved into residential
financing via less traditional routes, e.g., careful selection of clients
and leasing programs.
Private Commercial Banking - Casa Bancarias
The private commercial banking system is comprised of 20 banks and 13 casa
bancarias or financial houses. Jointly, they supply about one quarter of
all banking credit to the private sector, nearly all of it for periods of
six months or less. Major purchasers are livestock marketing, domestic
retailing, and consumers.
The establishment of casas bancarias was originally authorized in 1959.
They operate with limited functions, and may neither accept resident
deposits nor offer checking account services. They engage chiefly in
intermediating foreign currency denominated funds obtained abroad in the
domestic financial market.
The 20 full-service private commercial banks, in addition to the two
controlled by BROU, are either branches of foreign banks or are controlled
by foreign shareholders and owners. U.S. banks have largely withdrawn from
retail banking in Uruguay, owing to: (1) dominance of retail banking by
state-owned BROU; and (2) legal difficulties in foreclosing on the assets of
U.S. banks in Uruguay include: American Express (Rincon 473; tel:
96-00-92); Central National Bank of New York (Rincon 477; tel: 96-07-76);
Citibank (Cerrito 455; tel: 95-56-87); Republic National Bank of New York
(25 de Mayo 471; tel: 95-33-93); Chase Manhattan (Rincon 477, 9th floor,
suite 902/3; tel: 96-10-04); and First National Bank of Boston (Zabala 1463;
tel: 96-01-27), all in the capital city of Montevideo.
Foreign Exchange Regulations
The Uruguayan Government maintains a floating exchange rate system and
intervenes in the exchange market only in order to smooth out seasonal
fluctuations in foreign exchange inflows. The BROU is normally the major
actor in Uruguay's small foreign exchange market, owing to its dominant
position in financing international trade and its dominance in obtaining the
foreign exchange required for public enterprise operations.
Exchange transactions are also freely carried out through authorized banks,
exchange brokers, and the Central Bank of Uruguay. There is a 2 percent tax
on sales of foreign exchange.
Laws and regulations covering the remittance of profits and dividends are
covered by the Foreign Investment Laws, (see "Foreign Investment"). There
are no impediments to the repatriation of invested funds, dividends, or
profits. The Government also assures the foreign investor the availability
of foreign currency for this purpose. For foreign trade transactions,
importers have free access to foreign exchange markets and can freely
establish payment terms with foreign suppliers.
U.S. Export-Import Bank
The Export-Import Bank (EXIMBANK) of the United States an important source
of financing for U.S. exports, offers a range of loan and loan guarantee
programs. Buyer credit financing provides direct long term (5 to 10-year)
loans with a fixed interest. EXIMBANK works in conjunction with the Foreign
Credit Insurance Association (FICA) to offer various export insurance
programs, including short and medium term export credit insurance,
multi-buyer insurance, letter of credit insurance, and lease insurance
policies. Additional information on EXIMBANK AND FICA can be obtained from:
Export-Import Bank of the United States, 811 Vermont Ave., NW, Washington,
DC 20571; Tel: (202) 566-8990. The EXIMBANK Small Business Hotline is (800)
Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FICA)
For information on export credit insurance, contact: Foreign Credit
Insurance Association, 40 Rector Street, 11th Floor, New York, New York
10006; Tel: (212) 306-5000.
Overseas Private Insurance Company (OPIC)
OPIC is a self-funded U.S. government agency that promotes U.S. private
investment in some 120 developing countries and areas, including Uruguay.
In December 1982, the Uruguayan Government signed an agreement with OPIC.
The agreement allows OPIC to insure U.S. investments against the risk of
expropriation, war, inconvertibility, or other conflicts affecting public
order. For additional information on OPIC, write to: OPIC 1615 M Street,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20527; tel: (202) 457-7010, FAX: (202) 833-3375.
U.S. Trade and Development Program (TDP)
The TDP Program, a U.S. Government agency, provides funding for U.S. firms
to carry out feasibility studies, consultancies, and other planning services
related to major projects in developing countries like Uruguay. By
providing assistance in project planning, TDP promotes economic development,
while at the same time helping U.S. firms get involved in projects that
offer significant export opportunities. An official request for TDP
assistance must be made directly to TDP or through the U.S. Embassy in
Montevideo, Uruguay, by the appropriate government or private sector in
question. For further information, contact: Mr. Albert Angulo, Regional
Director, U.S. Trade and Development Program, Room 309/S.A.-16, Washington,
D.C. 20523-1602; tel: (703) 875-4357, FAX: (703) 875-4009.
INVESTMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT
"National Interest" Investments (IPL-74)
Industrial Promotion Law 14,178 of 1974 (IPL-74) established the benefits
which special investments may receive. To be eligible, said investments
must comply with government social and economic development objectives.
These are set forth in development plans the government considers essential
in promoting Uruguay's industrial expansion; they are considered of
The promotional measures provided under this Law are primarily tax and
tariff exemptions, and financial assistance for "national interest"
projects. To be eligible for government benefits the projects must support
one or more of the following objectives:
(1) reach maximum production and marketing efficiency based on adequate
levels of size, technology and quality;
(2) increase and diversify exports of industrial/manufactured goods which
incorporate the highest possible value-added raw materials;
(3) install new industries and expand or reform existing ones when this
signifies more advantageous use of raw material markets as well as available
(4) encourage selected technical research programs directed toward the
economic use of heretofore unexploited national raw materials and toward the
national products and the training of technicians and workers;
(5) stimulate tourism by means of improvement and expansion of the nation's
Benefits under the program include:
(1) exemption of all import taxes levied on equipment necessary for the
development of the project, provided it is not available locally, but in
case of importation of equipment available locally, exemption of surcharges
is at the discretion of the Executive);
(2) exemption from net worth tax for the assets incorporated for the project;
(3) ability to obtain dollar or local currency loans, with up to ten years
(4) deduction of income tax on industry and commerce selected applied
technological research programs directed at training workers and
(5) exemption of port service charges when importing capital goods.
Certain investments are eligible for the terms granted under this Law
without being designated of "national interest". These include; meat,
tanning, leather finishing, shoes, leather products, textiles, dairy
products, knitted fabrics, garments, fish, fruits and vegetables, rice,
semi-precious stones, soaps, glass, crockery and porcelain objects, clay
products, extraction and transformation of marble and granite, melting and
roasting of barley, and prospecting, exploitation, reduction and refining of
Projects declared of special or national interest derive two major benefits
under IPL-74: (1) credit assistance is available through the Central Bank
in the form of local or foreign currency loans for purchase of equipment,
machinery, domestic raw materials, modernization and/or expansion of
existing industries, and to finance accumulated tax debts expected to be
repaid in accordance with IPL-74; and (2) import surcharges, import tariffs,
consular fees, port charges, and other taxes on the import of the equipment
for the project may be waived.
Firms interested in the benefits of a national interest declaration, under
IPL-74, must apply to the Ministry of Industry and Energy. The application
must include the investment project proposal and provide: (1) technical
information on the current status of the proposal; (2) the state of the
firm; (3) objective of the project; (4) planned investment, including
production process and costs; and (5) related sales, export markets,
financial or credit needs, and profitability.
For detailed information, firms should contact the Unidad Asesora de
Promocion Industrial, Rincon 723, Montevideo, Uruguay, This unit, within
the Ministry of Industry and Energy, screens the proposed investment to
determine whether it meets the criteria for a national interest designation.
Policy Concerning Foreign Investment
The Uruguayan Government maintains a favorable policy toward foreign
investment. There is neither de jure nor de facto discrimination on the
basis of its origin. Foreign investment may be channeled through the
Industrial Promotion of Foreign Investments Acts of 1974. This is not a
requirement, however. A declaration by the Uruguayan Government that an
investment project is in the national interest (IPL-74) yields important tax
and customs benefits.
The Uruguayan Government does not usually require that foreign investors
have specific authorization in order to establish a business, to import,
export, or to obtain credit. No special authorization is needed to have
access to the Industrial Promotion Act, to capital markets, or to foreign
exchange. Foreign investors, nevertheless may not obtain these guarantees
under the Foreign Investment Law.
Foreign Investment Law (FIL-74)
The FIL-74 guarantees the convertibility and remittance of profits and
invested capital within the terms fixed by investment contracts signed with
the Government. A foreign company is considered one whose foreign capital
represents more than the 50 percent of its profits. For information on how
to invest in Uruguay, contact the Director, Office of Investment
Development, Edificio Libertad Piso 2, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2)
47-21-10; FAX (598-2) 809-397.
Taxation and Capital Repatriation
The foreign investor/company is subject to a tax of 40 percent on the
portion of profits exceeding 20 percent per year of the foreign capital
invested. Capital repatriation is guaranteed under FIL-74. Capital
repatriation may not occur, however, prior to the end of the third year from
the date the foreign investment contract was signed with the Uruguayan
Technically speaking, a foreign company which elects not to come under the
regime of FIL-74, does not qualify for a permanent guarantee of profit
remission. In practice, however, a foreign firm can fully remit capital and
profits even if the investment is not made within the framework of FIL-74.
This is the result of the freeing of the financial exchange market in late
1974. Most foreign companies therefore do not operate under FIL-74.
Restrictions on Finance
The FIL-74 restricts use of internal credit by foreign companies to short
term credit. They may not use medium and long-term internal credit. To use
foreign credit, foreign capital companies must obtain Uruguayan Government
There are no restrictions on technology transfer. Foreign investments in
all areas are accepted as long as they are compatible with the national
interest. Special government authorization is required in the following
sectors: electricity, hydrocarbons, basic petrochemicals, atomic energy,
exploitation of strategic minerals, agriculture and livestock raising,
meat-packing, banking (financial intermediation), railroads,
telecommunications, radio, press, television, and activities entrusted by
law to state companies.
Foreign Investment Trends
According to local U.S. business officials and U.S. Embassy estimates, total
U.S. investment in Uruguay in 1991 was approximately $150 million.
Approximately half is concentrated in the manufacturing sector, most notably
in textiles, automobile assembly and cement production. In recent years,
Argentina has accounted for most foreign direct investment in Uruguay or
approximately $433 million. Most of it is in manufacturing, construction and
Uruguay's program deals exclusively with its public sector foreign debt,
currently some $1 billion. The program is in accordance with the
Refinancing Agreement signed with creditor Banks under the Brady Plan, on
January 31, 1991. Residents and non-residents, individuals or corporations,
are eligible to apply to participate in the debt/equity program.
The 1991 program has authorized debt for equity swaps in non-profit projects
related to environmental protection, education, research, health, culture,
or any other venture of important social content. These proposals may be
submitted at any time and shall be analyzed on a case-by-case basis,
regardless of the procedure set forth for equity proposals.
Eligible ventures under this program must seek to improve the domestic
production of goods and services, and be for the acquisition of new
equipment, construction of industrial plants or other major premises, and/or
the incorporation of other assets.
The eligibility analysis will assess a venture's economic feasibility and
its impact upon GNP. Emphasis here focuses on relevance of the venture for
the national economy, internal consistency, and background of the applicant
company. Ventures most likely to be turned down are those aimed solely at
the acquisition of real estate/productive assets based in the country, or
those limited to the formation of working capital.
Eligibility for the debt/equity program does not require a minimum
percentage of new funding/contribution. Thus the entire project may be
financed through Uruguayan treasury bonds or "nominative debt instruments"
delivered by the Banco Central de Uruguay. The bank will administer the
program, by determining the amount of treasury bonds to be delivered in swap
transactions. Swaps outside of the official plan are not allowed.
There are no restrictions on profit remittances. They may be freely
transferred abroad at any time without any previous authorization.
General Tax System
The Uruguayan tax system has a variety of taxes on consumption, wealth,
business, income, and foreign trade. Some taxes may be reduced or waived,
however, as part of the Government's industrial promotion program or
(IPL-74). The following regulations apply:
There is no personal income tax in Uruguay, apart from the tax on
Only net profits of industrial and commercial enterprises are subject to
income tax. This is paid on the income of activities developed locally,
regardless of nationality or residence of those participating in the
The net income of business enterprises is charged a basic tax of 30
percent, although this can be reduced upon petition to and approval by the
Persons and businesses pay an annual property tax of 4.5 percent;
Industrial equipment and agriculture machinery for tax purposes are valued
at 50 percent of their assessed value;
The Uruguayan Government may grant industries an additional deduction of up
to 25 percent of property value when the investment is made outside of
Montevideo. The farther the distance from the capital city, the greater the
Mining and Manufacturing Exemptions
Industries or companies, which import machinery and equipment for the mining
and manufacturing sectors, are exempt from import duties and VAT taxes on
their production, for up to five years. To be eligible for these
exemptions, however, the industries or companies in question must not be in
competition with local production. The exemptions are for three years for
industries and companies located within Montevideo's city limits, and five
years for those located elsewhere in Uruguay.
The government eliminated all local content and compensatory export
requirements in automobile and truck industries, effective June 1992.
Uruguayan law provides for prior payment of compensation, in the event of
expropriation. Uruguay favors foreign investment, however, as evidenced by
fact that only one case of expropriation has occurred, in 1968. Uruguay is
not a member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment
Disputes - ICSID.
Bilateral Investment Treaties and Agreements
Uruguay has signed several bilateral treaties on foreign investment
protection. The United States and Uruguay are currently negotiating a
Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION (IPR)
Uruguay's IPR regime is not always consistent with international standards.
The regime still requires improved levels of protection and enforcement.
The most serious lack of IPR protection is the specific exclusion of
pharmaceuticals and chemicals products from patent protection. Recently,
however, the government has indicated it will match whatever text comes out
of the Uruguay Round's deliberations on IPR protection (the TRIPS). Whether
Uruguay plans to improve its regime even further than TRIPS requirements
remains to be seen.
Uruguay is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
and a party to the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention
(UCC) and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
Although the government recognizes and accepts the concept of IPR
protection, it has not ratified these agreements.
Protection is afforded beginning 10 years from the date of filing. To
benefit from this protection, the trademark owner must register with the
National Center for Industrial Property (NCIP) of the Ministry of Industry
and Energy. This provides exclusive rights for 10 years, with subsequent
10-year extensions renewable indefinitely. The application for a trademark
must be registered as domestic or foreign.
Names and denominations can be registered as well as emblems or other
creations, provided product or service can be identified.
The name of a merchant or industrialist, the company, and title of
commercial establishment also qualify for IPR protection under Uruguayan law.
To obtain registration of a foreign trademark in
Uruguay, the mark's owner or agent must present a certificate of inscription
from the country of origin. Petition must also be accompanied by: (a)
eight copies of trademark; (b) description and statement of objects for
which trademark is to be used; (c) receipt showing that the registration tax
has been deposited; and (d) power of attorney if petition is made by agent.
Patents are granted a non-renewable 15-year duration beginning from date of
grant. The Uruguayan Government grants patent rights on inventions which
have not been made known, published or distributed in Uruguay or offshore,
before the application date. The inventor may use the patent directly or
grant licenses for its use by third parties in return for payment of
royalties. The Uruguayan Government plays no role in determining royalty
policy between firms. Legislation permits technology transfer.
The Government encourages joint ventures, but plays no role in their
negotiation either directly or indirectly. The owners and their assignees
may obtain confirmation of patents in Uruguay, provided application is made
within three years of registration in the country of origin. Confirmed
patents are protected for a period of ten years less the period of
protection already enjoyed in the country of origin.
Patents must be exploited within three years, although an extension of two
years can be granted by the Executive. Otherwise, any interested person may
obtain a license to exploit the patent. In the latter instance,
compensation payments would be made to the inventor according to the rates
determined by an expert committee. Terms of such licenses may be modified
every three years. The Uruguayan Government must be notified once
exploitation of a patent has begun.
Uruguay affords copyright protection to books, records, videos, and computer
software. The government extended copyright protection to computer software
in April 1989. Computer programs can now be registered as intellectual
works, including successive versions of derivative programs. Uruguay plans
to sign the WIPO Treaty on International Registration of Audio Visual Works.
For specific information regarding existing foreign agriculture standards
and testing, packaging, and certification systems, contact the Technical
Office for International Trade, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bldg. 1072,
BARC-East, Beltsville, Md 10705; tel: (301) 344-2651.
For non-agricultural standards and their testing and certification systems,
contact the National Center for Standards and Certification Information,
National Bureau of Standards, Administration Bldg, Rm. A-629, Gaithersburg,
Md. 20899; tel: (301) 975-4040.
U.S. exporters can also find more information on foreign standards from the
American National Standards Institute, 1430 Broadway, New York, NY 10018;
tel: (212) 354-3300.
The Uruguayan labor force of some 1.5 million is well-educated. It has
shown itself adept in the application of modern industrial techniques. The
government is attempting to address the shortage of skilled technicians, by
actively training people, including programs at the Universidad del Trabajo
del Uruguay. The social security overhead in Uruguay is high, increasing
the basic wage bill of an employer by over 50 percent.
Average unemployment rate in Montevideo for 1991 was approximately 8.5
percent down from 9.3 percent in 1990. Local industry incorporates a
relatively high percentage of labor content in the value of manufactured
Labor rights were totally restored in 1985. The Government guarantees the
workers the right to strike, and protects union leaders against dismissal
because of union activities. Wages for most private sector employees, other
than rural workers and domestics, are based on government guidelines for
long-term agreements with salary adjustments. These are made at four-month
intervals (calculated on the basis of 90 percent of inflation during the
four months prior to each adjustment).
Approximately 230,00 private sector employees are covered by long-term
agreements. Another 60,000 who did not enter into such agreements are
by Government-decreed wage settlements based on a formula similar to the
contracts. As of 1992, however, the government authorized private worker
salaries to be negotiated directly between employer and employee.
The government decrees wage increases for agricultural workers every four
months and leaves salaries of domestic employees free. The salaries of the
approximately 270,000 public sector employees are raised by the Government
every four months based on inflation, availability of funds, and the
economic/financial situation of the Government at the time.
The system for salary adjustments has generally proven successful in
lowering the high level of labor conflict. While union rhetoric continues
to emphasize "class struggle" themes, union leaders, responding to members'
wishes, have increasingly addressed bread-and-butter issues.
The only requirement for local hiring is stipulated in banking laws which
state that foreign banks cannot prohibit Uruguayan employees from having
access to management positions in Uruguay. In general, foreigners may work
freely once they receive a resident visa, which is easily obtainable.
The working day is eight hours. There is a maximum of 48 hours per week for
industrial workers, and 44 hours per week for commerce and office blue
A Christmas bonus equivalent to one-half of the total salaries paid during
the year is usually paid in two installments, one in June and one in
The social security system allows for retirement at age 60 for men and 55
for women. Higher retirement ages are being discussed as a way to offset
the tremendous social security deficit. Disabled or ill workers receive
payment from the Government of 70 percent of their salaries plus free
medicines and medical assistance.
GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
U.S. citizens need a valid American passport, but visas are not required.
Exceptions are that visas are required for official and diplomatic passport
Business and tourist stays are limited to 90 days, although business visits
may be extended for an additional 90 days.
No inoculations are currently necessary for entry. International travelers
are advised to contact their Public Health Department, physicians or travel
agent at least two weeks prior to departure to obtain current information on
Uruguayan Consulates in the United States
Spanish is the official language of Uruguay. English is spoken by a growing
number of people, especially by urban business officials and in professional
circles. Italian, German, and French are also heard occasionally. Business
cards in English are acceptable but cards in both Spanish and English are
more welcome. Interpreters can usually be hired on an hourly or daily basis
Business dress and appearance, as well as one's general approach to business
relations, should be conservative. An advance appointment for a business
visit is usually necessary and considered customary courtesy. Typically,
business is discussed after social amenities; conscious effort should allow
for these. Extensive entertaining is common as are business lunches. At
such meetings, personal matters should not be discussed on your initiative.
Government offices are open from noon to 6 p.m. during the winter and from 7
a.m. to 1 p.m. during the summer, Monday through Friday. Banking hours are
generally 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments with bank
officials outside regular banking hours can be frequently arranged. All
banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Business hours for
commercial operations vary but generally are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday
The best months for business travel to Uruguay are April through November.
Uruguay businessmen typically take vacations in January and February during
the southern hemisphere summer season and during the second and third weeks
of July. Some firms grant collective holidays to their employees during
this time and are therefore totally closed. It is best to avoid business
travel in Uruguay during the two week period before and after Christmas and
during the week before and after Ash Wednesday (Carnival) and Easter.
January 1 (New Year's Day)
January 6 (Epiphany)
February two days for Carnival (6 weeks before Holy Week)
March five days for Holy Week (dates vary from year to year)
April 19 (Landing Day of the 33 "Orientales")
May 1 (Labor Day)
May 18 (Battle of Las Piedras)
June 19 (Birthday of Artigas)
July 18 (Constitution Day)
August 25 (Independence Day)
October 12 (Columbus Day)
November 2 (All Saints Day)
December 25 (Christmas)
Climate and Clothing
Most of Uruguay enjoys a relatively mild climate throughout the year. While
it does not snow, it can be very cold and windy during the winter season
with temperatures fluctuating greatly. Warm clothing and a raincoat are
essential in winter. Seasons in Uruguay are the reverse of those in the
No unusual health hazards exist. Food handling and sanitation standards are
comparatively high and the water supply is well maintained. Montevideo has
several highly regarded private hospitals and many competent medical doctors.
A citizen's Emergency Center, an arm of the U.S. Department of State, has
been established to alert U.S. citizens of potential trouble spots or help
get out of trouble if they encounter problems overseas. Citizens may call
(202) 647-5225 for the latest advisory information.
International telephone, telex, and fax service is efficient. The local
telephone service is adequate.
Several airlines have frequent service to Montevideo's Carrasco
International Airport from the U.S., Europe, and other parts of Latin
America. Internal transportation is mainly by car or bus. There is no
internal passenger railway or airline service. Within Montevideo, bus
service is cheap, taxi service is good, and secondary roads are adequate.
For most of the year Uruguay observes standard time. This is three hours
behind Greenwich Mean Time, two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, and
one hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Time. Uruguay has adopted a Daylight
Savings Time schedule from mid-December through mid-March.
Alternating 50 cycle electrical current typically is available in Uruguay at
220 volts, single and triple phase. Specially requested electric power
supply to industry may be three-phase, 380 or 415 volts, 50 cycles.
SOURCES OF ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL INFORMATION
Calle Lauro Muller 1776
Tel: (598-2) 23-60-61
FAX: (598-2) 488-611 Send mail to:
American Embassy, Montevideo
APO AA Miami 34035
Key Officers of Foreign Service Posts - (quarterly by U.S. State Department)
- Provides listing of current senior Embassy officers, at all Foreign
Service Posts. Individual copies or a subscription can be purchased from
the Government Printing Office, Washington,
D.C. 20402; tel: (202) 275-2091.
Economic and Commercial Information, contact Uruguay Desk, International
Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 3025, Washington,
D.C. 20230; (202) 377-1495. The Uruguay Desk maintains reference sources,
about marketing and trade information, including economic and commercial
reports from the American Embassy in Uruguay.
Political information and briefings can be provided by Uruguay Desk U.S.
Department of State; tel: (202) 632-1551.
U.S. Exports/World Areas by Schedule E., Commodity Groups Report FT 455,
(Annual), and U.S. Exports, Schedule E., Commodity by Country, Report FT
410, (Annual), Bureau of Census, Suitland, Maryland; tel: (301) 763-7662.
Cifras de Comercio Exterior - (monthly and annual trade statistics) Banco de
la Republica Oriental del Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 95-01-57.
Boletin Estadisticos - (monthly economic and financial statistics) Banco
Central del Uruguay; Paysando y Floreda, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2)
Importacion, Exportacion - (monthly shipping), Vida Maretima, Colon 1580,
Esc. 7, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 95-65-22.
Indice Industrial - (industrial directory) - Sarade 456, Esc. 8, Montevideo,
Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 90-69-64.
Uruguay Industrial - (Directory of the Uruguayan Chamber of Industries),
Cimara de Industrias de Uruguay (CIU), Av. Libertador Brig. General
Lavalleja 1670, Piso 1, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 90-19-41.
Guia de Exportadores de Uruguay - Directory of Uruguayan Exporters, in
English and Spanish; Direccion General de Comercio Exterior, Cuareim 1374,
Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 92-03-19.
American Firms, Subsidiaries and Affiliates in Uruguay - World Trade Academy
Press, Inc., 50 East 42nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10017; tel: (212) 647-4999.
Chamber of Commerce Uruguay-USA Membership Directory - Bartolome Mitre 1337,
Piso 1, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 95-90-59.
Manual Practico del Importador - (annual) - Practical Importers Manual,
containing information on import duties and other foreign trade
regulations. Centro de Estadesticas Nacionales Y Comercio Internacional de
Uruguay (CENCI), Misiones 1361, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 95-45-78.
Doing Business in Uruguay (1992) - Price Waterhouse & Co., International
Distribution Center. P.O. Box 30004, Tampa, Florida 33630; tel: (813)
Uruguay, Financial Centre (1989) - Surinvest Casa Bancaria S.A., Misiones
1535, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 96-01-77.
Martin - Hubbell Law Digest 1991 - Brief description of domestic laws in
most nations. Martindale-Hubbell, P.O. Box 1001, Summit, New Jersey
07902-1001; tel: (908) 464-6800.
Uruguay: An Economic Portrait (1988) - Government promotion publication for
potential investors, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Cuareim 1384,
Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 92-03-19.
Uruguay - International Trade Reporter, Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.,
1231 25th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037; tel: (202) 452-4200.
Guidelines for Investing in Uruguay (1989) - Hughes & Hughes, 25 de Mayo
455, Piso 4, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 90-19-72.
Uruguay: Investment System - Chamber of Commerce Uruguay-USA,
Bartolome Mitre 1337, Piso 1, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 95-90-59.
Exporters' Encyclopedia - (1992-1993), Dun & Bradstreet Information
services, 899 Eaton Avenue, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18025-0001; tel: (215)
Capital Formation and Investment Incentives Around the World - Walter H.
Diamond and Dorothy B. Diamond, Volume II, Matthew Bender Inc., 11 Penn
Plaza, New York, N.Y.; tel: (212) 967-7702.
Business Newsletters and Magazines
Busqueda - (Weekly) - Major Uruguayan economic and business periodical. Av.
Uruguay 1146, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 92-13-00 or 92-13-56.
El Observador Economico - Daily economic newspaper; Ituzaingo 1389; tel:
Uruguay - A bi-monthly economic newsletter. First National Bank of Boston,
Zabala 1464, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 96-01-27.
Revista de la Cimara de Comercio Uruguay-Estados Unidos - Bartolome Mitre
1337, Piso 1, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel: (598-2) 95-90-59.
Quarterly Economic Review of Uruguay, Paraguay - The Economist
Intelligence Unit Ltd., 111 West 57th Street, 8th Floor, New York, N.Y.;
tel: (212) 541-5730.
Business Latin America - Business International Corporation, Subscription
Department, 215 Park Avenue South, 18th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10003; tel:
(212) 460-0600 or 750-6326.
Lagniappe Letter and Quarterly Report - Latin American Information Services,
Inc., 159 West 53rd Street, 28th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10019; tel: (212)
OAS CECON Trade News - (In-Depth Information Affecting the Latin American
and Caribbean Sectors), General Secretariat, Organization of American
States, 1889 F. Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20006; tel: (202)458-3000.
AACCLA Outlook - Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin
America, 1665 H. Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20062; tel: (202) 463-5490.
Washington Report - Council of the Americas, 680 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y.
10021; tel: (212) 628-3200.
The Backgrounder - The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.,
Washington, D.C. 20002-4999; tel: (202) 546-4400.
Annual Report on Exchange Arrangements and Exchange Restrictions,
International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Worldwide Survey of Exchange
Regulations, Publications Office, IMF, 700 19th Street, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20431; tel: (202) 623-7430.
Annual Report 1991 - Inter-American Development Bank, 808 17th Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C., 20577; tel: (202) 623-1000.
Background Notes: Uruguay - Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public
Communications, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520; tel: (202)
Export-Import Bank of the United States, Annual Report - 811 Vermont Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20571; tel: (202) 566-2117.
Foreign Economic Trends and Their Implications for the United States:
Uruguay, (annual), U.S. Department of Commerce, Publications Sales Branch,
Room 1617D, Washington, D.C. 20230; tel: (202) 377-5494.
International Trade Reporter: Export Shipping Manual - Bureau of National
Affairs, 1231 25th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037; tel: (202)
NTIS or National Technical Information Service has country information,
concerning economic, commercial and marketing opportunities. The
information is supplied by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Orders can be
made by writing to: NTIS, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia 22161;
Tel: (703) 487-4650.
Following are available publications with corresponding order numbers and
1. Country Fact Sheet (9/92) PB92-215607 $9.00
2. Top Imports/Exports (92) PB92-215615 $12.50
3. Foreign Economic Trends (5/92) PB92-215623 $12.50
4. Investment Climate Statement PB92-215631 $17.00
5. Trade Act Report (FY/92) PB92-215649 $ 9.00
6. Commercial Activities Report (3/92) PB92-215656 $ 9.00
NTDB or National Trade Data Bank is a CD-ROM information source updated
monthly. It is available at over 600 federal depository libraries
nationwide. NTDB is operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide
trade information on all countries, including Uruguay. The information has
been generated by U.S. Executive Branch Agencies and includes Census data on
U.S. imports and exports, and the Foreign Traders Index (FTI). The FTI
identifies, by seven digit Standard Industrial Classification number, firms
doing business with U.S. companies in foreign countries.
The NTDB can be purchased for $35 for a single disk, or $360 for a 12-month
subscription. For more information or to order, call (202) 377-1986 or FAX
This file extracted from Dept. of Commerce National Trade Data Bank (NTDB)
CD-ROM SuDoc No. C 1.88:993/12. Processed 12/01/1994 by software developed
by RCM (UM-St. Louis Libraries) / OBR_0013