U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay David Nelson can personally attest to the tremendous changes the country has undergone since the early 1980s when he served as a diplomat under Uruguay’s former dictatorship. The democratic and economic strengthening he witnesses today has led him to become one of the most enthusiastic advocates for investment here.
“From the viewpoint of private investors and from the standpoint of the United States government, we see Uruguay as a very positive opportunity for investors,” he says. “We have one of the latest models of a bilateral investment treaty with Uruguay, which was signed in 2006, one that provides security for investors.”
The country’s status as headquarters of Mercosur affords it a strategic position as a logistics hub for the region and U.S. companies may use Uruguay as a tariff-free export distribution base. In addition, the government has plans for future investment in infrastructure, something in which many North American companies have already expressed interest.
Other areas the ambassador views as attractive for investors are adding value to agricultural, livestock, and dairy activities, as well as the non-traditional sectors that are helping to boost economic growth, such as software, technology, and call centers.
One of the embassy’s roles is to explain to investors what the situation is currently like, put them in contact with the right channels, and in the process, ultimately ease their worries over language barriers, administrative procedures, and bureaucracy. “We tell them the advantages and disadvantages that we see, we can facilitate contacts with government authorities and with other companies, but it is the investor who ultimately makes the decision,” says Mr. Nelson.