Uruguay country brief
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Friendly relations, shared international perspectives and people-to-people ties.
Long history of collaboration to advance global reforms of agricultural trade through the Cairns Group, and strong supporter of global rules in the Antarctic treaty system and the UN. There are growing business and academic ties.
Export and investment opportunities exist, including agriculture, infrastructure and mining.
Australia and Uruguay established diplomatic relations in 1954.
Since 17 July 1968, Australia's Ambassador to Buenos Aires holds non-resident accreditation to Uruguay. Australia has an Honorary Consulate in Montevideo.
Uruguay opened a Consulate-General in Sydney in July 1954 and an Embassy in Canberra in May 1958. .
Australia and Uruguay are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Cairns Group, Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) United Nations (UN), UN specialised agencies, the Antarctic Treaty and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
Uruguay is a member of Mercosur, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Organization of American States (OAS), which seek to advance a variety of regional political and economic interests.
Uruguay is an observer of the Pacific Alliance.
- Uruguayan visitors to Australia (2019 Dept of Home Affairs) #
- Australian visitors to Uruguay (primary destination 2019 Dept of Home Affairs) # *
- Resident Australian population born in Uruguay (2016 Census)
- Australian residents of Uruguayan descent (2016 Census)
- Uruguayan Working Holiday Makers (2019 Dept of Home Affairs))
- Uruguayan students in Australia (2019 Dept of Education)
# This data is owned by Home Affairs. It provides quarterly updates to this data on its website.
* Uruguay reports the number of Australian visitors as 3596 in January to September 2019 (Uruguay Migraciones).
High level engagement
2017 June – President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Stephen Parry visited Uruguay.
2016 2016 August – Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove visited Montevideo.
Agreements with Uruguay
- 2019 Bilateral Investment Treaty
- 2014 Tax Information Exchange Agreement
- 2012 Working Holiday Maker visa program
- 2012 MoU on Air Services
- 2010 MoU on Strengthening Bilateral Trade and Investment
The Council on Australia-Latin America Relations (COALAR) provides grants to enhance Australia's economic, political and social relations with Latin America. In 2019-20, it supported a project in Uruguay to workshop crop-livestock adaptation to climate change based on modelling and remote-sensing.
An exhibition of Australian Aboriginal art in the MAPI (Pre-Colombian and Indigenous Art Museum), supported by the Australian Government, has had significant impact within the community.
Uruguay is a strong supporter of an international rules-based trading system. Uruguay and Australia have been at the forefront of global efforts to adopt policies to discourage the use of tobacco products in the interests of public health.
The Australian Government supports Australian investors in Uruguay by providing support and advice on political, economic and regulatory environments.
Further economic and trade information can be found in our Economic Factsheet for Uruguay. .
In 2011, the Uruguay-Australia Chamber was established. The Chamber, based in Uruguay, operates as a non-profit civil association. It focuses on promoting and developing bilateral economic relations.
Though trade and investment ties are modest, Uruguay is an open economy which encourages foreign investment and trade. There remains strong interest in both directions to strengthen this aspect of the relationship further.
As an internationally competitive exporter of primary products, Uruguay presents opportunities for the export of Australian agriculture-related technology and services, including animal genetic material. Uruguay has largely adopted Australian traceability systems for livestock. A number of Australian companies are already present in the market and highly respected.
New opportunities for Australian investment are opening in the fields of education, agriculture, mining and infrastructure. Public-private partnerships present additional opportunities for Australian companies to invest in Uruguay through infrastructure projects, such as deep-water ports, roads, rail, river transport, energy (oil, gas and wind farms), irrigation dams, tourism infrastructure, recreational ports and marinas, hospitals and jails.
Uruguay has some of the region’s highest levels of education and per capita income, good governance and low corruption. It is a regional early adopter of new technologies. It represents a potential new market of technology companies, including Ag-Tech, Fin-Tech and a range of other areas.
Uruguay is a base for Australian companies operating in the region, with a particular focus on Mercosur markets. Montevideo in particular is a safe, modern regional capital with strong rule of law and good infrastructure. Uruguay has a number of free-trade zones which offer significant tax benefits to Australian companies. This has made it an attractive place to establish logistics hubs to service other markets in the region.
The Austrade office in Argentina, also responsible for Uruguay, is focused on: promoting the Australian education sector; increasing trade outcomes in sectors linked to the agricultural strengths and needs of Uruguay; and promoting Australia’s capabilities in digital technology such as block chain, Fin-Tech and Med-Tech.
Austrade aims to attract foreign direct investment into Australia. It also identifies market opportunities and promotes the capabilities of Australian exporters and education providers.
Australian Embassy in Argentina
Buenos Aires C1426BMJ
Tel: +54-11 4779 3500
See Smartraveller for Information on travelling to Uruguay: smartraveller.gov.au