The business environment
Uruguay is strategically located between South America's two largest economies: Brazil and Argentina. This, coupled with Uruguay's stable economy and institutions, presents a favorable climate for foreign investors seeking to either do business in the country itself, or in neighboring countries, using Uruguay as a platform
The country's business environment can be summarized in the following basic principles:
I. Equal treatment for foreign and local investors
Uruguayan law does not discriminate between local and foreign investors. Foreign investors do not face any restrictions and do not require authorization to settle within the country. They can freely develop industries, engage in trade activities, and obtain access to local banks and financial markets. Foreign investors are also eligible for promotional tax regimes on their investments.
II. Absence of special requirements for the establishment of new companies
Foreign investors can operate freely in Uruguay. They receive the same treatment as local investors, whether they choose to form a local company or to simply act without formally establishing themselves.
III. Absence of restrictions on the amount of foreign capital that can participate in an investment
Investors can participate in the stock of a local company in any proportion. Local companies can be 100% foreign owned. Other forms of corporate structures can be adopted, such as joint ventures, and associations of different kinds.
IV. Free entrance and repatriation of capital and dividends
Freedom of capital repatriation and profit remittances abroad is guaranteed. This can be done at any time, regardless of the moment the initial investment was carried out.
V. Favorable tax treatment on imports of capital equipment
Imports of capital equipment have favorable tax regimes: import duties and other taxes are not levied i many cases.
VI. Freedom of prices and lack of exchange controls
The Uruguayan economy has no exchange restrictions. Transactions can be carried out in any currency, and can be freely exchanged locally. There are no administrative price controls.
VII. Freedom of choice regarding nationality when hiring labor
Uruguayan law allows local and foreign investors to hire foreign labor, with only a few minor restrictions in certain areas (regarding the proportion of foreign workers hired).
VIII. Possibility of absolute anonymity for investors
Investors are guaranteed anonymity by way of operating through bearer-stock corporations. The Uruguayan banking system has one of the world`s strictest banking secrecy laws which further guarantees privacy.
IX.An open trade policy, and an expanding market through the consolidation of the Mercosur trade agreement
Uruguay is strategically located at the heart of the MERCOSUR trade area, (formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay in 1991).
X. A solid and independent judicial system.
Respect and enforcement of the law (including commercial law) is guaranteed by an independent judiciary. Contracts can be regulated by the law of choice of the parties, and arbitrage clauses can be agreed upon.
XI. Legal protection of private property and copyright
Private property, patents, and copyrights are expressly protected by law.
XII.The existence of instruments to channel off-shore investments virtually tax-free
Uruguay is South America`s only off-shore low-tax jurisdiction. Offshore assets and income of a Uruguayan corporation are untaxed.