More information about Uruguay is available on the Uruguay Country Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Uruguay declared independence in 1825, and then secured independence in 1828, following a three-year conflict with Brazil and the dissolution of its federation with Argentina. The United States and Uruguay established diplomatic relations in 1867. The relationship between the United States and Uruguay is strong. The two countries share important values, including a commitment to democracy, rule of law, sound economic policies, strong labor rights, environmental protection, investment in people, the desire to see the peaceful resolution of disputes between nations, and a commitment to the multilateral system.
The country has historically served as a consensus builder and mediator in international institutions. Uruguay is one of the top per capita contributors to United Nations peacekeeping and the single greatest contributor of peacekeeping forces among countries in Latin America. The United States values Uruguay’s contributions to improving security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Golan Heights, and other locations throughout the world. The United States has given $28.5 million in training and equipment to support Uruguay’s peacekeeping missions since 2008.
The United States and Uruguay have a long history of building ties between our people through educational and cultural exchanges. Since its establishment in 1960, the binational Fulbright Commission has supported thousands of study and research exchanges for students, scholars, and K-12 teachers between both countries. The government of Uruguay continues to support Fulbright programs, including a $500,000 annual contribution to support scholarships for Uruguayans to pursue postgraduate study in the United States, and a $100,000 commitment to support the presence of English Teaching Assistants in Uruguayan schools. Uruguay’s Binational Center — the U.S. cultural center in Uruguay — has a network of 37 centers across the country serving more than 10,000 students annually in English language classes. The United States remains one of the top destinations for Uruguayan students, with approximately 500 Uruguayans currently studying in the United States, a 25 percent increase over the past five years.
U.S.-Uruguay Bilateral Economic Relations
In 2018, bilateral goods trade between the United States and Uruguay was $2 billion. The United States had a $937 million trade surplus with Uruguay in 2018. Uruguay’s main imports from the United States are electrical machinery, machinery, mineral fuels, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. The United States was Uruguay’s third largest export market and fourth largest importer in 2018. Uruguay’s primary export products to the United States are beef, wood and wood products, prepared meat and fish, and optical and medical instruments. Uruguay’s primary import products from the United States are mineral fuels and oils, electrical machinery, equipment, and parts, and other machinery and mechanical appliances. U.S. foreign direct investment in Uruguay was $1.6 billion in 2017 (latest data available). More than 120 U.S.-owned companies operate in Uruguay.
Uruguay and the United States have signed numerous agreements to strengthen economic cooperation between both countries. In 2002, Uruguay and the United States created a Joint Commission on Trade and Investment, which was superseded by a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2007. Under both instruments, Uruguay and the United States have signed several agreements including: an Open Skies agreement, a Bilateral Investment Treaty, a Science and Technology agreement, a Customs Mutual Assistance agreement, and a Memorandum of Understanding on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and Small and Medium Enterprises. In November 2018, a bilateral Social Security Totalization Agreement went into force. The agreement enables U.S. and Uruguayan citizens who have divided their careers between both countries to combine the periods of social security coverage earned in each country.
The United States welcomed more than 83,000 visitors from Uruguay in 2018, and nearly 60,000 U.S. visitors traveled to Uruguay during the same time period. While many of the Uruguayan visitors to the United States travel for tourism or business, more than 500 Uruguayan students are currently attending U.S. universities, which represents a 25 percent increase during the last five years.
U.S. Assistance to Uruguay
U.S. assistance supports Uruguay’s ability to combat terrorism, international crime, and the trafficking of persons, materials, and drugs. Uruguay’s national police, customs, and judicial officials participate in various capacity building programs to include the Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affair’s International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in San Salvador, El Salvador. U.S. assistance also strengthens and maintains Uruguay’s peacekeeping and disaster response capabilities through equipment purchases, education, and training designed to improve defense institutions and professionalize Uruguay’s military forces.
Uruguay’s Membership in International Organizations
Uruguay and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization.
Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Uruguay maintains an embassy in the United States at 1913 “Eye” Street NW, Washington, DC 20006 (tel. 202-331-1313).
More information about Uruguay is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Uruguay Page
History of U.S. Relations With Uruguay
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies