Almost all of the foreign companies that invest in Uruguay have a clear focus on exports and use the country as a platform for their regional expansion.
For economist Roberto Villamil, executive director of Uruguay XXI, "interest in Uruguay as a destination for foreign investment is growing, above all from the perspective that it is an excellent center from which to operate in the region and even beyond." Uruguay XXI is the first point of contact for foreign investors. It is the agency that promotes the country's investments and exports. Uruguay XXI guides, advises and provides up-to-date and detailed information to business people interested in investing in Uruguay.
"We try to fill the role of companion to the foreign investor during their process of solidifying business, which means helping the investor define matters from the geographic location for their enterprise--in the case of an industry, where the plant will be located-to the end markets which the investor might serve from Uruguay," said Villamil.
Uruguay XXI reports an increasing number of inquiries every year. In the first half of 2011, more than 150 foreign businesses have visited the agency's offices or made specific investment inquiries, an increase of 12% over the first half of 2010.
"We help investors set up their to-do lists in order to identify local counterparts or potential suppliers for their work processes, set up interviews with the competent national authorities or chambers of commerce for each project, and bring together all of the necessary contacts in the value chain identified by the company, whether industrial, services or commercial," explained Villamil.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Uruguay exceeds 5% of its GDP, a high level...