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 then secured independence 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. The relationship between the United States and Uruguay is strong. The two countries share a commitment to democracy, human rights, rule of law, sound economic policies, strong labor rights, and investment in people.
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 contributions as a UN troop contributor to improving security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Golan Heights, and other locations throughout the world. The United States has provided $27.5 million since 2008 in training and equipment to build Uruguay’s capacity to support peace operations through the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI).
The United States and Uruguay have a long history of building ties between our people through educational, professional, 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, including the current Uruguayan Ambassador to the United States, Andres Duran Hareau. While the U.S. Government has historically provided most of the Commission’s funds, over the past few years the Commission has welcomed important cost-share agreements with Uruguayan partners. Alianza Uruguay-Estados Unidos — the binationally supported U.S. cultural center in Uruguay — has a network of 37 centers across the country serving more than 12,000 students annually in English language classes. The United States remains an important destinations for Uruguayan students, supported by EducationUSA advising centers in Uruguay.
U.S.-Uruguayan Pandemic Response
The United States has provided approximately $600,000 in health and humanitarian assistance and funding to Uruguay to assist with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance facilitated risk communication and community engagement, provided supplies for health care facilities, built mobile hospitals, and supported other programs to assist their host communities. The United States donated 500,000 vaccine doses to Uruguay.
U.S. Assistance to Uruguay
U.S. assistance supports Uruguay’s ability to combat terrorism, international crime, strengthen security force capabilities, and combat the trafficking of persons, illicit goods, and drugs. Uruguay’s national police, customs, and judicial officials participate in capacity building programs, including the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affair’s International Law Enforcement Academies. 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 share professional experiences with Uruguay’s military forces. 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 the land borders. The United States has also provided more than $1.6 million in humanitarian assistance to Uruguay to support Venezuelan migrants in the region.
U.S.-Uruguay Bilateral Economic Relations
In 2020, the United States was Uruguay’s fourth largest supplier of goods, and its third largest export destination. Overall, the United States is Uruguay’s fourth largest trading partner, after China and Brazil, and neighboring Argentina. In 2020, the United States maintained a $330 million trade surplus (resulting from $863 million exports and $533 million imports).
Uruguay’s main imports from the United States are crude and refined oil, computers and parts, and telephone equipment. Uruguay’s primary export products to the United States consist of beef, beef products, wood, wood panels, and citrus. In 2020, the United States was the largest buyer of Uruguay’s citrus, and purchased 45 percent of its mandarins and oranges. The United States is also a major buyer of services, especially IT services, and select products. In 2019, the United States bought almost three-quarters of Uruguay’s IT exports, equivalent to $655 million, surpassing its purchases of goods.
Uruguay’s strategic location in the center of Mercosur’s wealthiest and most populated area 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. More than 120 U.S.-owned companies operate in Uruguay and employ about 20,000 workers. Uruguay has welcomed back U.S. air carriers under the existing U.S.-Uruguay Open Skies Agreement in a bid to reestablish connectivity.
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.
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, 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: