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.
The Oriental Republic of Uruguay declared independence in 1825, and secured it in 1828, following a three-year conflict with the Empire of Brazil and the dissolution of its federation with Argentina. The United States and Uruguay established diplomatic relations in 1867. Today the relationship between the United States and Uruguay is as strong as ever, based on a shared commitment to democracy, human rights, and rule of law.
Uruguay has historically served as a consensus builder and mediator in international institutions. The country is consistently in the top 20 contributors of uniformed (military and police) peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping operations and the largest contributor among countries in Latin America. The United States values Uruguay’s participation as a contributor of troops, experts, police, and staff officers dedicated to improving security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Golan Heights, and other locations throughout the world. Since 2008, the United States has provided over $35 million in training and equipment to build Uruguay’s capacity to support peacekeeping operations through the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), including vehicles, improvised explosive device (IED) jammers, helicopters, and night vision devices.
The United States and Uruguay have invested significant resources over many decades to deepen people-to-people ties through a broad array of exchanges in education, culture, science and technology, and English language training, among others. The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section manages a robust portfolio of outreach and engagement programs focused on leadership, service, shared values and encouraging entrepreneurship.
U.S.-Uruguayan Pandemic Response
The United States has provided over $1.5 million in health and humanitarian assistance to Uruguay to assist with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance helped build testing capacity early on; facilitated risk communication and community engagement; provided medical supplies for health care facilities; expanded access to COVID-19 vaccinations; and provided humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response for migrants, refugees and host communities. The United States has donated over 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Uruguay.
U.S.-Uruguay Education and Cultural Cooperation
Exchange programs such as the binational Fulbright Commission build connections between our countries, especially through future Uruguayan leaders who pursue postgraduate study in the United States. In addition, professional exchange programs play an important role in addressing issues related to Uruguay’s economic development, including promoting the value of entrepreneurship and combatting climate change. Uruguay has one of the oldest Fulbright Commissions in the region, and the Uruguayan government provides in-kind and monetary support annually to support Fulbright and other exchange opportunities.
The Alianza Uruguay-Estados Unidos — the binational supported U.S. cultural center in Uruguay — has a network of 39 American Spaces embedded in public spaces throughout the country, which are supported by the Uruguayan government. These centers provide English language, academic advising, and other programming to more than 15,000 individuals a year, and strengthen educational, social, and cultural ties between the United States and Uruguay. The United States remains the number one destination for English language speaking Uruguayans looking to study abroad, and EducationUSA runs successful college clubs and a highly competitive Opportunity Funds program for prospective U.S. bound students.
U.S. Security Assistance to Uruguay
U.S. security assistance supports Uruguay’s ability to protect its citizens from transnational crime via various training programs that strengthen regional cooperation to counter the trafficking of drugs, wildlife, illicit goods, and persons through the exchange of international best practices with law enforcement, customs, and justice officials. U.S. assistance also strengthens Uruguay’s disaster response capabilities through equipment purchases, education, and training designed to improve the coordination and equipment of Uruguay’s responsible civilian and military units. One of the longest running security assistance programs is the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program. Since 2015, the Department has provided $4.96M in IMET that has supported 236 Uruguayan military members. The United States has provided over $15 million in Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) donations since 2004 for projects including the construction of the Chapicuy and Santa Catalina clinics and a community center in Salto. In addition, the United States provides advisory assistance through the Global Defense Reform Program (GDRP) to build capacity and improve security sector governance within Uruguay’s Ministry of Defense and Chief of Defense Staff to conduct future force planning and budgeting on military deployments on Uruguay’s borders.
U.S.-Uruguay Bilateral Economic Relations
In 2021, the United States was Uruguay’s fourth largest supplier of goods, and its second largest export destination if accounting for combined goods and services. Overall, the United States is Uruguay’s third largest trading partner, after China and Brazil. In 2021, Uruguay’s main imports from the United States were plastics, chemical substances, chemical inputs for agriculture, and computers. Uruguay’s primary export products to the United States are beef, beef products, wood, wood panels, and citrus. In 2021, the United States was the largest buyer of Uruguay’s citrus and purchased 40 percent of its mandarins and oranges. In 2020, Uruguay exported $902 million in software to the United States, representing 74 percent of such exports from Uruguay in 2020.
Uruguay’s strategic location in the center of Mercosur’s wealthiest and most populated region and its special import regimes, such as free trade zones and free trade ports, make it a well-situated distribution center for U.S. goods into the region. Approximately 165 U.S.-owned companies operate in Uruguay and employ directly or indirectly about 30,000 workers. Uruguay has welcomed back U.S. air carriers under the existing U.S.-Uruguay Open Skies Agreement, with several U.S. carriers relaunching nonstop flights during Uruguay’s peak season. Uruguay and the United States have signed numerous agreements to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation. 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 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.
Uruguay’s Membership in International Organizations
Uruguay and the United States belong to many of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Trade Organization.
Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
More information about Uruguay is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: