Uruguay country brief

Australia and Uruguay share friendly relations based on shared international perspectives and people-to-people ties.

Key engagement

In addition to our long history of advancing global reforms of agricultural trade through the Cairns Group, there are growing business and academic ties.

Outlook

Export and investment opportunities in agriculture, mining and infrastructure.

Bilateral relations

Uruguay opened an Embassy in Canberra in May 1958 and a Consulate-General in Sydney in July 1954. Australia has maintained non-resident accreditation from the Embassy in Buenos Aires since 17 July 1968 and currently has an Honorary Consulate in Montevideo.

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 relations.

Foreign relations

Australia and Uruguay are members of the Cairns Group and cooperate in the World Trade Organization to advance global reform of agricultural markets.

Uruguay is also a member of several regional organisations, including the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Organization of American States (OAS).

In 2012, both Uruguay and Australia became observers of the Pacific Alliance, a group of outward-looking pro-trade liberalising Latin American economies comprising Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. In 2013, Uruguay announced its intention to pursue full membership of the bloc, subject to its Mercosur commitments.

Foreign Policy White Paper

Fast facts

  • Uruguayan visitors to Australia (2017) — 2,500
  • Australian visitors to Uruguay (primary destination 2017)* — 2,700
  • Resident Australian population born in Uruguay (2016) — 9,000
  • Australian residents of Uruguayan descent (2016) — 7,800
  • Uruguayan work and holiday makers (Year Ended June 2018) — 200
  • Uruguayan students in Australia (2017) — 70

Public diplomacy

Uruguay is eligible for the Endeavour Leadership Program. Under the previous Endeavour Mobility Grants and Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships programs, three Uruguayans have been offered opportunities to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and one Australian has been offered the opportunity to undertake a study experience in Uruguay.

In 2018, the Council on Australia-Latin America Relations (COALAR) provided grants to the Australian Academy of Science, Somos21 Limited and the Australian Studies Centre (ASC) at Universidad ORT Uruguay to connect and collaborate with people and institutions in Uruguay.

The ACS has played a strong role in raising awareness of Australia through regular academic visits and conferences featuring leading Australian academics. The ASC promotes the visits of Australian academics throughout the community in Uruguay and is committed to developing link between Australia and other countries in the region.

Economic diplomacy

Australia and Uruguay participate in the CER-Mercosur Dialogue, bringing together Australia, New Zealand and Mercosur members. The most recent discussions took place in Buenos Aires in May 2017. The dialogue was established in 1996 as a mechanism to strengthen cooperation on global trade policy issues and to promote inter-regional trade and investment.

Further economic and trade information can be found in our Economic Factsheet for Uruguay.

Business

As an internationally competitive primary products exporter, Uruguay present opportunities for the export of Australian agriculture-related technology and services, including animal genetic material. Australian companies are already present in the market and highly respected, including from presences in other regional markets including Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

New opportunities for Australian investment are opening up in the areas of agriculture, mining and infrastructure. The public-private partnerships initiative presents 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 average income. 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 also an excellent potential base for Australian companies operating in the region, particularly with a focus on Mercosur markets. Montevideo in particular is a safe and friendly modern regional capital with strong rule of law and good infrastructure.

High level engagement

2017

June — President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Stephen Parry visited Uruguay.

2016

August — Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove visited Montevideo.

Travel

See Smartraveller for information on travelling to Uruguay.

Agreements with Uruguay

2014

Agreement on exchange of information with respect to taxes

2012

Work and Holiday Visa Arrangement

2010

MoU on Strengthening Bilateral Trade and Investment

2002

Bilateral Investment Treaty

Australian Embassy in Argentina

Villanueva 1400
Buenos Aires C1426BMJ
Argentina
Tel: +54-11 4779 3500
General: info.ba.consular@dfat.gov.au

Facebook: Australia en Argentina, Uruguay y Paraguay
Twitter: @EmbAustraliaBA

 

*Uruguay reports the number of Australian visitors as 8,500 in 2016 (Dirección Nacional de Migración).

Last Updated: 15 February 2019