Doing Business In Uruguay: What You Need To Know

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Uruguay is a country with high economic freedom with an extensive infrastructure network that offers excellent access not only to Latin America...
Uruguay Corporate/Commercial Law
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Uruguay is a country with high economic freedom with an extensive infrastructure network that offers excellent access not only to Latin America, but also the rest of the world. Its location, infrastructure and natural resources position Uruguay as a strategic location for major business and industrial centres in the region.

Uruguay has strong political and social stability, supported by a consolidated democracy and strong rule of law. The country offers good prospects for internal development by local companies or as a hub for global or regional services. Here we take a look at how to get set up in Uruguay, as well as touching upon the economic and political conditions within the country, and the benefits of its free trade zones.

Incorporating a company

There are a number of steps to take for incorporating a company, but first you will need to decide on the type of company to establish, depending on your business needs.

The three most common types of company are:

  • Corporation
  • Simplified share company (SAS)
  • Limited liability company

The following steps then need to be followed:

  • Appoint a legal representative
  • Prepare articles of incorporation and bylaws of the company
  • Submit the articles of incorporation and bylaws to the National Audit Office
  • Register the company with the National Trade Registry
  • Publish an extract of the bylaws in the Official Gazette
  • Register the company at the Single Window and at the Social Security Administration
  • Register the company with the State Insurance Bank
  • Open a corporate bank account

Economic outlook

Uruguay's economy has grown year-on-year for the past 30 years, based on its impressive institutional stability, relative to its Latin American counterparts.

Since 2003, Uruguay has grown at rates above the regional average, exceeding 7% on several occasions.

Despite a slowdown at the beginning of 2023 amid global uncertainties, economic growth is expected to be nearly 2% for 2023 and inflation is expected to remain around 7% this year.

Political stability

Uruguay has maintained a stable democracy for almost 40 years, with a commitment to facilitate and set clear rules to investors, whether they are Uruguayan or from overseas.

Government elections are due to be held next year, but this should not generate doubts among investors, because the investments promotion framework is well maintained.

A clear example is what is established in the Free Zones Law. The State, under liability for damages, assures the free zone user – during the term of their contract – the permanence of the exemptions, benefits and rights.

Uruguay ranks top among Latin American countries for political and democratic stability, transparency, and prosperity.



Target sectors

The key sectors of the Uruguayan economy include financial services, global services (shared service centres, call centres, software and biotechnology), real estate, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and livestock, tourism, logistics, construction and forestry.

Free trade zones

There are currently 12 free trade zones operating in Uruguay: Nueva Palmira, Fray Bentos, Libertada, Punta Pereira, Colonia, Colonia Suiza, Floridasur, Rivera, Zonamerica, WTC, Praque de las Ciencias, and Aguada Park.

These zones play an important role in attracting capital and investment and highlight the government's drive to develop the nation. The free zones offer incentives to establish companies in Uruguay, providing businesses with advantages to conduct operations in the country.

These include exemptions from taxes on dividends paid to non-residents, corporate income tax and all other national tax exemptions, customs duties exemptions on goods traded by free zones with the rest of the world, and VAT exemptions on foreign sales and purchase of goods and services.

Talk to us

Whether you're looking to enter Uruguay, or have been operating there for years, it's important to work with a partner on the ground who knows the culture and can help you navigate any local complexities.

TMF Group has been operating in Uruguay since 2006. Our team of local professionals works with over 170 local and multinational companies in a wide variety of business sectors, including retail, aviation, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, energy, and telecommunications.

Our full range of services includes incorporation and structuring, payroll, accounting and tax services, legal compliance corporate, management of global entities and capital markets mainly as trustees, to local and multinational companies.

Get in touch with TMF Group's local experts in Uruguay to discuss how we can help take your Uruguay business to the next stage.

Find out more about doing business in Uruguay

Request the Uruguay country profile for an in-depth guide to operating in the jurisdiction.

Each country profile has been curated by our in-house TMF Group experts, on the ground in each location, to provide you with a summary of critical policies and regulations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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