The business climate in Uruguay has been the best in recent years, according to foreign companies

According to the survey by Uruguay XXI and Equipos Consultores, 84% of foreign companies are satisfied with the investment climate and 40% would invest again in the next five years.
Publication date: 13/03/2024

Uruguay XXI, in the company of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Omar Paganini, and the Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, Elisa Facio, presented the results of the Foreign Investor Survey that the agency prepared together with Equipos Consultores.

The third edition of this survey -other ones were presented in 2015 and 2018- underlines foreign companies’ growing confidence and commitment to the Uruguayan market.

This essential tool for the design of public policies revealed that 84% of foreign companies are satisfied with Uruguay as a country to develop their business. "It is a very high level of satisfaction, with an improvement compared to the 2018 survey in which 47% were satisfied, while in the first edition of 2015, satisfaction was 76%," explained the manager of Competitive Intelligence of Uruguay XXI, Mariana Ferreira, who, together with the director of the Methodological Laboratory of Equipos Consultores, Santiago Peyrou, presented the results.

The key factors for investing in Uruguay are macroeconomic, political, and social stability and institutional framework. In second place are tax exemptions and incentives (47%) and foreign exchange freedom and ease of repatriation of dividends (44%).

During the presentation, Paganini expressed that Foreign Direct Investment was one of the factors that most clearly drove the country’s development in recent years. "Investment attraction is part of the objectives of the Foreign Ministry’s strategic foreign policy plan 2023 - 2025, and that is why this report, in addition to giving us satisfaction for the results achieved, encourages us to continue being receptive to the private sector’s proposals, which are the frame of reference to continue improving the business environment of our country," he said.

Minister Facio said that work is being done with the objective of opening new markets. "We strive to show that we are a country open to the world and that we do not close the doors to opportunities that may arrive (...) we collaborate continuously to maintain this ecosystem, to encourage the arrival of investments and the development of businesses that bring innovation, knowledge and fundamentally work for the country," she said.

The executive director of Uruguay XXI, Sebastián Risso, said, "Uruguay is positioned as a place where companies not only wish to establish themselves but also to grow and prosper, marking a promising path towards the future."

In this sense, the survey revealed that over 80% of foreign companies established in Uruguay invested in the country in the last five years to expand their business (47%) and maintain operations (37%). Regarding the modality of these investments, almost 50% did so through reinvestment of profits and capital injection (32%).

In addition, more than 40% of the companies that responded to the survey said that it is highly probable that they will continue to invest in Uruguay in the next five years. "These data reflect investors’ confidence in Uruguay," Ferreira emphasized.

Country cost, bureaucracy, and specific aspects of infrastructure and human capital were the points at which the survey identified opportunities for improvement. To address them, Risso emphasized the role of Uruguay XXI. "This survey is a fundamental input to build the favorable business climate that Uruguay offers and that we are proud to present in our missions abroad. It also presents us with opportunities for improvement, a path we have been treading with initiatives such as the Foreign Trade Single Window and the recently presented Investment Single Window, two tools committed to improving export and investment processes and installation in the country. We also have other initiatives to facilitate access to talent, their professionalization, and the rapid arrival of investors and workers who want to relocate to the country", he said.

In 2023, 47 investment announcements -33 corresponded to new investments and 14 to mergers and acquisitions- were announced; more than half of them were directly assisted by Uruguay XXI. These numbers, Risso said, also demonstrate the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination and the positive impact of aftercare initiatives, which are essential to retain and encourage companies to reinvest in the country.

The results of this survey not only reflect Uruguay’s attractiveness as an investment destination but also underscore the shared commitment between the government and the private sector to continue improving the business climate.

Access the survey results here.