“There is a large block of American companies that believe in business opportunities in Uruguay and want success,” said Eric Geelan, commercial and political advisor at the United States Embassy in Uruguay.
The United States seeks to promote trade and investments in Uruguay and motivate Uruguayans to invest or establish companies in their own country. There are incentives for pursuing such business opportunities in Uruguay.
This was stated by the ambassador of the United States in Uruguay, Heide Fulton, who recently spoke of the “thriving economic sectors that can generate greater mutual collaboration.” Significant business opportunities in Uruguay are mainly in agriculture and technological services, which present the most important potential for success.
There are programs such as “ Select USA,” which informs foreign entrepreneurs of the requirements and incentives made available by the U.S. government and helps generate networks of contacts, in addition to providing other tools, such as databases, investor guides, legal advice, information on taxes, migration, in which States to invest, etc.
The idea is that Uruguayan companies make a soft landing (soft landing, without losing time or errors) in the northern country.
Exports to the United States are varied
Julio César Lestido, president of the Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce, emphasized that the United States occupies fifth place as a destination for Uruguayan products. But if exports of products and services are added, the United States comes to first place.
“There are business opportunities in Uruguay to take advantage of,” he said, addressing a gathering of that country’s businessmen concerning export issues and investments.
Eric Geelan, commercial political advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay, highlighted that exports of goods from Uruguay to that country grew by US$200 million in 2022. “It is a robust increase that has been talked about very little,” he stated. Specifically, Uruguayan exports to the United States increased from US$ 572 million in 2021 to US$ 786 in 2022 (37% increase). This was mainly due to the sale of Uruguayan meat. “The United States pays for the quality cut,” said the diplomat.
The primary goods Uruguay exported to the United States are beef, meat by-products, wood and wood products, cellulose, citrus fruits, and honey, in that order. “Exports of all those Uruguayan products to the United States have increased,” Geelan said. Business opportunities in Uruguay also focused on honey and citrus fruits, with the United States being the “market par excellence” for citrus fruits. “We began a process of purchasing more pulp,” he added.
Likewise, diplomatic authorities focused on Uruguay’s service exports. According to the Uruguayan Chamber of Information Technologies (CUTI), the United States represents 60% of Uruguay’s technology services exports. “It had reached 70%, but an American company was bought by an English firm, which reduced the percentage,” he explained.
Still, the percentage remains high and is the equivalent of about US$600 million in technological services exports. That is, Uruguay’s export of Information Technology (I.T.) services to the United States is almost equal to its export of goods.
The problem is the limitations of Uruguayan capacity in terms of qualified personnel in new technologies, which Uruguay knows perfectly well, and the U.S. diplomatic representatives have noted this point.
Likewise, Uruguay’s imports from the United States increased from US$540 million in 2021 to US$655 million in 2022 (21% increase). The products most imported from the U.S. are oil, agricultural machinery, machinery for the renewable technology industry, and transportation.
Companies in the U.S. see business opportunities in Uruguay
The United States is one of Uruguay’s most prominent investors. “It is true that we do not have a flagship investment yet. But a large block of American companies believe in Uruguay and want to promote its success,” said Geelan.
180 American companies with a presence in Uruguay employ approximately 30,000 workers.
U.S. support for ventures and projects in Uruguay falls within the framework of the Law Enforcement Commission of Investments ( Comap ).
Promoting economic exchange with Uruguay in the U.S. national interest
For many reasons, promoting business opportunities in Uruguay is undeniably in the United States’ national interest. First and foremost, Uruguay’s stable and open economy is an attractive gateway for American businesses seeking access to the broader Latin American market. By fostering stronger economic ties with Uruguay, the United States can secure a strategic foothold in the region, thereby advancing its economic interests.
Additionally, the diversification of trade partners and investment opportunities in Uruguay can enhance the resilience of the U.S. economy, particularly in times of global economic uncertainty. Furthermore, a thriving business relationship with Uruguay bolsters diplomatic and political ties, ultimately contributing to regional stability and cooperation, which aligns with U.S. foreign policy objectives.
In conclusion, promoting business opportunities in Uruguay not only bolsters American economic growth but also fortifies diplomatic relations, thereby safeguarding and advancing the national interest of the United States in an interconnected world.