Specialties of Uruguay
Cattle were introduced to Uruguay before its independence by Hernando Arias de Saveedra, the Spanish Governor of Buenos Aires in 1603. Beef exports in 2006 amounted around a 37% of Uruguayan exports.
Wool is a traditional product exported mainly to China, followed by the UK and India.
Milk and dairy products. Conaprole, National Cooperative of Milk Producers is the main exporter of dairy products in Latin America (in 2006). The area of the country dedicated to the dairy food is located mainly in the south west.
Rice. Fine varieties are produced in the lowlands in the east of the country close to Merin lake on the Uruguay-Brazil border. The national company Saman claims to be the main exporter in Latin America. Countries it exports to include Brazil, Iran, Peru, South Africa, Chile, Senegal, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, USA, Canada and China.
Tourism: Several seaside resorts, including Punta del Este, regarded as a jet set resort in South America, are main attractions of Uruguay. International cruises call at Montevideo from October to March every year. Also, Uruguay hosts many year-round international conferences. (The original GATT Uruguay Round concerning trade was, as its name suggests, hosted in Uruguay). Montevideo is home to the headquarters (secretariat) of [Mercosur], the Common Market of the South, whose full members are Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, associate members Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Software and consulting. Uruguay's well-educated workforce and lower-than-international wages have put Uruguay on the IT map. A product named Genexus, originally created in Uruguay by a company called ArTech, is noteworthy. Other important developers and consultants include De Larrobla & Asociados, Greycon and Quanam. Tata Consultancy Services has its headquarters for the Spanish speaking world in Uruguay. Many of these companies have established in ‘Zona America’ Business and Technology Park, in the suburbs of Montevideo.
"With a population of only three million, Uruguay has rapidly become Latin America's outsourcing hub. In partnership with one of India's largest technology consulting firms, engineers in Montevideo work while their counterparts in Mumbai sleep." - The New York Times, Sep 22, 2006
Banking Services. Banking has traditionally been one of the strongest service export sectors in the country. Uruguay was once dubbed "the Switzerland of America", mainly for its banking sector and stability. The largest bank in Uruguay is Banco Republica, or BROU. Almost 20 private banks, most of them branches of international banks, operate in the country (Banco Santander, ABN AMRO, Citibank, among others). There are also a myriad of brokers and financial-services bureaus, among them Ficus Capital, Galfin Sociedad de Bolsa, Europa Sociedad de Bolsa, Darío Cukier, GBU, Hordeñana & Asociados Sociedad de Bolsa, etc. Uruguay has fully recovered from the financial crisis that caused a run on its banks.
Public Sector: The state in Uruguay has an important role in the economy, Uruguay resisted the trend of privatization in Utilities and state owned enterprises in the region. Several Referendums supported the state being in control of the most important utilities and energy companies. Some of the companies have a full monopoly warranted by law (like landline telephony, water), others compete freely with private operators (Insurance, mobile telephony, Banks). Most of them are dominant in the local market. There is strong debate in the Uruguayan society about their role, and future. Some of them made a contribution to the Uruguay state treasury.
The most important state owned companies are: Republica AFAP (Pension Fund), AFE (Railways), ANCAP (Energy), ANCO (Mail), Administracion Nacional de Puertos (Ports), ANTEL (Telecommunications: Telephony, Mobiles (ANCEL and Data ANTELDATA)), BHU (Mortgage Bank), BROU (Bank), BSE (Insurance), OSE (Water & Sewage), UTE (Electricity). These companies operate under public law, using a legal entity defined in the Uruguayan Constitution called 'Ente Autonomo' (Meaning Autonomic Entity). The government also owns parts of other companies operating under private law like the National Airline Carrier PLUNA and others owned totally or partially by the CND National Develoment Corporation.
Milk and dairy products. Conaprole, National Cooperative of Milk Producers is the main exporter of dairy food of Latin America (in 2006) among others national and international companies operating in the market. The area of the country dedicated to the dairy food is located mainly in the south west.
Tobacco and beverages, including some fine wines; a regional specialty are red wines are produced from the tannat grape
Chemical products. Oil Refinery
Leather and leather products.
Paper pulp, paper, cardboard and derivatives. A big pulp mill has started operating near the city of Fray Bentos, the pulpmill is owned by the Finnish group Metsä-Botnia.
Ceramics, glass and glass products.