+ How can Uruguay XXI assist me?

Uruguay XXI, the investment and export promotion agency of Uruguay, provides free support to foreign investors who are thinking of investing in Uruguay. We will be pleased to help you by providing you with the information you need, for example, macroeconomic, job market, taxes and legal data, investment incentive programs, location and costs. At the same time, if you are planning to visit our country, we will help you organize your meeting agenda, providing you with contacts of the main players, such as governmental entities, business chambers, financial institutions and law firms, among others.

You can contact us by telephone at +598 2915 3838 or by e-mail at invest@uruguayxxi.gub.uy.

+ What are the steps I need to follow to set up a company in Uruguay?

No prior requirements or permits are required for a foreign investor to operate in Uruguay, with the possibility of operating through any business type, including branches of foreign legal entities. Partners do not need to have Uruguayan nationality or residence in any of the chosen types. They only need to have a legal address in Uruguay.

As for the creation of a new legal entity, the most frequently used business types are Corporations and Limited Liability Companies. In Uruguay, there are three ways to set up a Corporation or a Limited Liability Company:

  1. Traditional procedure. For further details on this procedure, you can access “Set up a company” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.
  2. Setting up a company through the Company in a Day program. This company setup service is provided by the Uruguayan state, at no additional cost, and enables to set up and register a company in one single step. Activities which cannot be registered through the Company in a Day program: corporations with registered shares, agriculture, banking and financial entities, private equity firms, staff from embassies and international organizations, insurance, household service companies, owners of works and free zones.
  3. Buying a new company from a law firm.

In the case of branches of foreign companies which intend to be registered as such, there is only one method for setting up the company that can take several months, although the branch may operate once the setup procedures begin.

For further details on the types of existing companies in Uruguay and the procedures to set up a company, refer to the Chapter “Set up a company” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ Can I access information by sector?

Uruguay XXI makes industry reports available, providing information on the different investment opportunities and presenting Uruguay’s competitive advantages, the domestic and regional market, companies that are operating in the country, recent investments, current general and specific incentives and future sector prospects.

You may access sector reports regarding: Aeronautical, Automotive and Auto parts, Biological Science, Renewable Energies, Forestry, Shipping Industry, Infrastructure and Construction, Logistics, Agricultural Machinery, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Global Export Services, Financial System, Tourism and Real Estate.

If you need customized information not included in the report drafted by the institute, please contact Uruguay XXI, which will provide you with personalized information to answer your specific enquiries, such as macroeconomic data, job market, taxes and legal aspects, investment promotion programs, location and costs.

+ What countries can you enter from Uruguay with preferential tariffs?

From Uruguay you will be able to access several preferential markets, provided you meet the origin regime requirements established in each agreement.

Uruguay, together with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Venezuela, is part of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR). All products exported by Uruguay, except for automotive products and sugar, receive the 100% tariff preference in effect when entering other Mercosur member countries. In the automotive sector, Uruguay has bilateral agreements in place with Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, whereby it also receives preferential tariffs.

Uruguay has signed, as part of Mercosur or independently, a series of trade agreements that grant access to other markets with preferential tariffs beyond Mercosur.

MERCOSUR has signed trade agreements with many countries in Latin America: Chile (1996), Bolivia (1996), Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela (2004), Peru (2005) and Cuba (2006). An agreement that exclusively covers the automotive sector was signed with Mexico (2002). Outside the region, Mercosur has signed agreements with Israel (2007), India (2004), SACU (2008), Egypt (2010) and Palestine (2011). SACU, Egypt and Palestine agreements have not yet come into force.

Uruguay has also executed a bilateral free-trade agreement with Mexico (2003) which enables the free movement of goods and services between both countries (zero tariff) since June 2004, with certain exceptions for which treatment has been explicitly provided for in the agreement.

For further details on the executed agreements, refer to “International Agreements” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ Which is the applicable origin regime for exports from Uruguay?

In order to process a certificate of origin you should go to any of the entities authorized to issue certificates, where you will be required to produce an affidavit containing the necessary information to issue the certificate. Certificates of origin are issued on payment of a fee.

The entities authorized to issue certificates of origin are the Chamber of Industries of Uruguay, the National Chamber of Commerce and Services of Uruguay and the Mercantile Chamber of Domestic Products. In the case of automotive products, the certificate is issued by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining’s National Industry Administration.

The origin regime to be complied with to export from Uruguay depends on the country of destination of such exports. Agreements executed by Uruguay are governed by the general rule (where all products must abide by the same rule of origin) or by the Origin Specific Requirements – REOS (where each product must abide by a specific rule of origin) or by a combination of both. A chart with details on the main applicable rules is included by way of example, although we recommend referring to the specific agreement to check the applicable rule of origin in each case.

origen exportaciones

+ With which countries has Uruguay executed Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements?

Currently, Uruguay has 29 Investment Promotion and Protection agreements in place, three of which (Chile, United States and Mexico) include liberalization provisions. Agreements executed with Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Poland, United Kingdom, Belgium-Luxembourg, Spain, France, China, Malaysia, Canada, Czech Republic, Venezuela, Sweden, Portugal, Panama, Israel, El Salvador, Australia, Finland, Armenia, Vietnam, Korea are post-establishment agreements.

Agreements executed by Uruguay guarantee foreign investors some principles such as national treatment, most favored nation clause, fair and equitable treatment, expropriation-related clauses and non-transfer restrictions and the right to resort to international controversy settlement mechanisms in the event the provisions set forth in the Agreement are not complied with.

For further details on the executed agreements, refer to “International Agreements” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ With which countries has Uruguay signed agreements to avoid double taxation?

Uruguay has entered into some agreements in order to avoid double taxation with Argentina (2013), Ecuador (2012), Finland (2013), Germany (2011), Hungary (1994), India (2013), Korea (2013), Liechtenstein (2012), Malta (2012), Mexico (2010), Portugal (2012), Romania (2014), Spain (2011) and Switzerland (2011) and some more are in the process of being ratified by the Parliament. ,

For further details on the executed agreements, refer to “International Agreements” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ What are the incentives offered by the Uruguayan state if I decide to invest?

National and foreign investment in Uruguay is declared of national interest by law. Foreign investors are granted the same incentives as local investors and there is no tax distinction or restrictions for transferring profits abroad.

Uruguay has a wide range of incentives which adjust to different types of activities, from industrial to commercial and service activities intended to be performed in the country. Schemes provided for by the Investment Law, industry incentives, free zones, free port and free airport schemes, public-private partnership agreements, industrial parks and temporary admission are some of the main incentive schemes available in the country.

For further details on the incentives in force, refer to the Chapter “Investment promotion schemes” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ What are the benefits offered by the Investment Law?

The investment promotion scheme is enshrined in Law No. 16,906 and regulated by decrees 455/007 and 002/2012. The promotion and protection of investments made by national and foreign investors in national territory is declared of national interest by law, granting general and specific tax benefits and guaranteeing the free transfer abroad of capitals and profits in freely convertible currency.

All taxpayers of the Corporate Income Tax (IRAE) and the Agriculture-Livestock Goods Sales Tax (IMEBA), who carry out industrial or agricultural activities are eligible for exemption of the Wealth Tax, VAT and Excise Tax (IMESI) for goods directly destined to the productive cycle and equipment for electronic data processing.

Moreover, companies operating in any sector of activity that produce an investment project which is further promoted by the Executive Branch will be eligible for additional benefits:

  • Wealth Tax Exemption during the useful life of the movable fixed assets, during eight years for civil works in Montevideo and during ten years for civil works located in other parts of the country.
  • Tax exemption for personal property imported for fixed assets which are not competitive with national industry.
  • VAT refund for exporters who acquire materials and services intended for civil works in the market.
  • IRAE exemption for a maximum amount and term resulting from applying a matrix of targets and indexes, weighting job generation (30%), decentralization (15%), increase in exports (15%), cleaner production or investment in research and development (20%) and sector indexes (20%). The exempted tax shall be equivalent to 20% – 100% of the amount which was actually invested in the fixed or intangible assets included in the eligibility statement. The term for which the company will benefit from IRAE exemption is fixed according to a predefined formula and it may not be less than 3 years.

You can find a simulator  for the following sectors: Agriculture, Industry, Tourism, Trade and Services. The results that emerge are not binding, which may provide you with an accurate estimation of the tax benefits you may be granted under Law 16,906.

+ Which sectors have specific incentives?

The Investment Law conveys that eligibility statement may apply to a specific sector activity. In this framework, the following sectors have been promoted: Call Centers, Shipping and Electronics Industry, Manufacturing of Agricultural Machinery and Equipment, Power Generation, Tourism, Forestry Industry, Treatment and Final Disposal of Industrial Solid Waste, Vehicle Manufacturing and cargo transportation equipment, Hydrocarbon and Biotechnology Industry.

Companies which fall under these categories and are benefitted by the eligibility statement under the Investment Law should appear before the Commission for the Enforcement of the Investment Law (COMAP) to have access to said benefit.

Moreover, there are other benefits granted by Uruguay according to the sector, regardless of the provisions set forth by the Investment Law. The following sectors are favored with these incentives: External financial brokerage, Forestry, Graphic Industry, Maritime and Air Navigation, Software, Vehicle or auto parts, Biofuel, Communication and Housing Industry.

For further details on the incentives in force, refer to the Chapter “Investment promotion schemes” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ Which incentives apply to setting up in a free zone in Uruguay?

At present there are thirteen free zones in the cities of Canelones, Colonia, Colonia Suiza, Florida, Fray Bentos, Libertad, Montevideo, Nueva Helvecia, Nueva Palmira, Punta Pereira and Rivera.

As a free zone user you will be able to conduct business, industrial or service activities, exempt from all existing or future national duties, including those in which a specific exemption is required by law, with regard to the activities conducted therein. In particular, they are exempt from the Income Tax, VAT, Wealth Tax, Excise Tax and Corporation Control Tax. The State guarantees the user the tax exemptions, benefits and rights provided by law during the term of the agreement, subject to liability for damages. The current exceptions in terms of exemptions are contributions to social security corresponding to Uruguayan personnel.

When setting up in a free zone, bear in mind that legal entities which set up as free zone users should have the sole purpose of carrying out these activities in the national territory and that, except in exceptional cases, 75% of the staff should be Uruguayan. Foreign personnel may choose to contribute to social security in their country of origin.

For further details, refer to Free Zones in Uruguay, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ Where can I sell to from a free zone?

At Free Zones, industrial, commercial or service activities destined for export can be conducted and, in most cases, also for the Uruguayan market (retail trade within free zones is not permitted).

Goods manufactured in duty free zones may be sold in the Uruguayan customs territory with no restrictions, prior payment of all customs duties. With respect to services, services which can be provided by free zones outside free-zone territory include: international call centers (number of calls, inbound and outbound calls of telephone services provided by the International Call Centers destined to the national territory should be less than 50 percent of total calls of the telephone services provided); mailboxes; remote education; issue of e-signature certificates, software production services, IT consultancy and IT training; management, administration and accounting services and similar services provided to related entities engaged with the provision of logistics services, both shipping and port services, provided said provision does not exceed 20 percent of the total turnover for the fiscal year; and film and photo development.

Sales of goods from Free Zones to other countries are, in some cases, included in the preferences negotiated by Uruguay within the framework of its commercial agreements. This is the case of exports enshrined in the agreements with Chile, Mexico, Israel, India, Colombia, Ecuador, Cuba and Venezuela. In the particular case of MERCOSUR, sales from Free Zones are subject to the payment of the Common External Tariff, except for the products specifically established in bilateral agreements.

For further details on the executed agreements, refer to “International Agreements” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ What is the Free Port System?

Uruguay has a free port and airport system in place in the ports of Montevideo, Colonia, Fray Bentos, La Paloma, Nueva Palmira, Paysandú and Puerto Sauce, as well as in Carrasco International Airport.

When operating in a free port, goods circulate freely without the need for permits or formal procedures. Goods are exempt from all import duties and surcharges as long as they remain within the customs port area, with the possibility of performing operations that add value on such merchandise without changing their nature.

Unlike what happens with the Free Zone system, for merchandise under the Free Port/Airport system origin is not forfeit, both if they are re-exported in identical condition as imported and if they were subject to operations which did not alter the nature of the product or its origin. Thus, several agreements executed by Uruguay, including Mercosur and Israel, include a system of certificates of origin which facilitate the type of operation provided for in the Free Port system.

For further details on the incentives in effect, refer to the Chapter “Investment promotion schemes” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ What are public-private Partnership Contracts?

In 2011, the Public-Private Partnership Act (Law No. 18,786 of July 19, 2011), which lays down the regulatory framework for public-private partnership (PPP) agreements was enacted. These agreements are executed by a Public Administrative Body which entrusts, for a given period, the design, construction and operation of infrastructure to a private party, in addition to financing. Road, rail, port, airport, energy infrastructure, waste disposal and treatment and social infrastructure works (health centers, social interest houses, etc.) are included in this regulation.

For further details on the incentives in effect, refer to the Chapter “Investment promotion schemes” in the Investor Guide, prepared by Uruguay XXI.

+ What is the Temporary Admission system and how does it operate in Uruguay?

The Temporary Admission (AT, for its Spanish acronym) system allows you to introduce, exempt from taxes, foreign goods from outside the national customs territory into the market, provided that pre-established purposes and requirements are met. Such merchandise should be exported after having undergone specific transformation, manufacturing, repair or value-adding processes, with actual employment of labor. Furthermore, re-export or domestication of goods is admitted, prior authorization, in the condition they were introduced.

LATU is the organization in charge of monitoring compliance with Temporary Admission operations by granting authorization to use the regime, determining consumption ratios, checking physical stock and cancelling ongoing operations.

The AT system also applies to machinery and equipment of any origin which are introduced into the country on a temporary basis for a specific purpose and to the entrance of goods included in any Investment Project under analysis by the Investment Law Application Commission (COMAP), provided they do not compete with the domestic industry. In this case the authority concerned, except for agricultural machinery, is the Ministry of Economy and Finances (MEF). If the Temporary Admission regime is used to import agricultural machinery, it should be processed by the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP).

+ Which are the labor costs in Uruguay?

There are several salary fixing mechanisms: through individual negotiation with each worker in his/her labor agreement, through bilateral negotiation with the execution of bargaining agreements between company and trade unions or through tripartite negotiation where the government takes part together with workers and employers in the fixing of minimum wages by category, and bi-annual readjustments through the Wage Boards (tripartite entities made up of State, workers and employers’ delegates).

avg monthly sal

 

manager avg monthly sal

 

 

For information on specific salary levels, please contact Uruguay XXI and we will gather the information for you.

+ Which are the main salary costs for employers, in addition to salary?

A table with the labor costs borne by employers is shown below. Bear in mind that in Uruguay these costs are the same, regardless of the company’s activity sector, with the exception of the agricultural sector.

cargas sociales

+ How much does it cost to lease, purchase or build a plant or company in Uruguay

You may access information on rental and purchasing costs for premises and plots of land, construction costs and land prices in the “Setup and Operation Costs for a Company in Uruguay” prepared by Uruguay XXI.

If you need customized information not included in the report drafted by Uruguay XXI, do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly assist you.