Uruguay is one of the main gateways to doing business in Latin America. This is so because of social, political and legal reasons.
Uruguay is well known for its political and social stability. Independent publications usually rank Uruguay at the top in terms of democracy, rule of law, low levels of corruption, and the independence of its judiciary. The country is well irrigated and has rich and diverse agricultural production. Such conditions, coupled with a flexible regulatory and legal regimes, have made of Uruguay one of the main legal platforms to conduct business in Latin America.
Some of the main characteristics of the system are:
- Inflow and outflow of foreign currency is absolutely free, there are no exchange controls and there is no foreign investment registry. Foreign investment merits the same legal treatment as domestic investment.
- Contracts expressed in any foreign currency are fully enforceable. Foreign judgments and arbitral awards are equally enforceable with no review over the merits. Uruguay’s flexible corporate system allows for a single shareholder or a single director, whether resident or non-residents; the transfer of the stock is effected by means of the physical delivery of the stock certificate.
- Companies are only taxed on locally sourced income. Companies with no activities in Uruguay remain essentially untaxed. Uruguay has entered into a wide extended network of both double taxation and information exchange agreements; as of today Uruguay is a member of the OECD Fiscal Affairs Committee.
- Uruguayan free trade zones have played a key role in the attraction of foreign investment. The most important privately owned investments in Uruguayan history have been conducted under a free trade zone status.
- Uruguay is an immigration-friendly country. As long as local means of support can be evidenced, applicants can start working in Uruguay right after the beginning of the immigration application procedure.