Export, Innovate, Invest - The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

Import Regulations - Uruguay

Disclaimer: Be advised that most links are only offered in the language of origin.

I - Introduction
II - General Information
III - Agricultural and Food Products
IV - Key Contact Information
V - Other Public Entities

I - Introduction

Uruguay has a liberal imports policy along with free currencies trade. There are some listed products which need a previous authorization and sanitary, phitosanitary or other type of controls to import them, such as chemicals, fishery products and derivatives, etc.

Uruguay is presently a member of MERCOSUR with Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay as the other parts, the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Cairns Group, amongst others. As a part of these integration processes it adheres to the international agreements signed by their decision-making bodies.

II - General Information

Uruguayan standards and labelling

A governmental technological laboratory known as LATU (Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay) is the officially approved agency which controls standards and quality of imported products. Labelling requirements are set and controlled by governmental (LATU, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, etc.) and several municipal agencies.
For products imports, it is required to:

  • Register at the National Taxes Direction (DGI)
  • Register at the Social Security Bank  (BPS)
  • Register at the Insurance Estate Bank (BSE)
  • Get the Single Custom's Document in the National Customs Direction for every dispatch (DUA)
  • Contract a customs broker

Notes:

  • The participation of a local customs brokers is mandatory for the clearing process at customs
  • Use of metric system: Uruguay uses the metric system of weights and measures

Basic documentation needed to be able to import merchandises are the following:

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of Origin (to access a preferential tariff)
  • Other (depending on the merchandise)

Customs duties and taxation

MERCOSUR was created in 1991 with the objective of establishing a Common Market integrated by Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. As from January 1st, 1995 they consolidated as a Customs Union.  MERCOSUR has its own Common Nomenclature (based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems) and the Common External Tariff (CET), which are used to classify and apply tariffs on merchandises. The CET actually goes from 0% to 20%. The sugar industry and automotive sectors are excluded from this commercial agreement.

Uruguay has  signed free trade agreements as member of Mercosur with Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Perú and Israel.

All goods that come from outside MERCOSUR will pay global tariff rate according to the Common Nomenclature except for the following list:

  • IT products
  • Capital goods
  • Products of the Automotive Industry
  • Sugar

Global Tariff Rate (GTR) is applied on CIF value of merchandises and the present rate in Uruguay, in general terms, is the following:

  • IT and capital goods 0-10%
  • Agricultural products 5-15%
  • Consumer durable and non-durable goods 10-18%
  • Weapons and ammunitions 20%

Other taxes applied on imports:

  • Consular rate: Taxes only imported goods and is applied on the CIF value of merchandises. Actual rate is 2%. Capital goods exclusively for the industry, agriculture and fishery sectors are exempted of the consular tax. 
  • Rate on preferential and customs services: represents 0,2% of total CIF value. Maximum rate applicable U$S 50.
  • Rate on extraordinary services (TSE): amount applicable depends on value declared in import permits (minimum USD 12 - maximum USD 600).
  • IRAE: Taxes the profits on economical activities. Rate  goes from 4% to 8% on CIF value declared.
  • VAT: Taxes the sale of national and imported goods and services rendered. For imported goods it is applied on the CIF value + GTR. Imported goods must pay 10% of the CIF+GTR total value as an advanced VAT payment.
    • General rate: 22%
    • Minimum rate: 10% (medicines, basic food, etc.)
  • IMESI: (Specific Internal Tax): Taxes the first transfer of specific goods, such as alcoholic drinks, cosmetics and perfumes, tobacco, electricity, vehicles, fuel, etc.

Imported goods included in the list must pay the tax.

Free Trade Zones

Uruguay has several Free Trade Zones in different regions of the country so as to promote economic activities. Any legal industrial, commercial or service activity can be developed in them.

Free Trade Zones in Uruguay are considered as separate customs territories, so imports (introducing goods produced outside the Free Trade Zone into it) are duty free, and a particular taxation regime, which includes fiscal benefits, is applied. Consequently, moving merchandises from a Free Trade Zone into Uruguay's customs territory is considered as an import, therefore customs duties and taxes must be paid according to Uruguay's regime.

Temporary Admission and Drawback

Uruguay uses these two regimes to promote national production and in particular exporting industries.

Under Temporary Admission an Uruguayan company can import different goods, duty and tax free, to be used as inputs for a higher added value product which will be re-exported in a maximum 18 months after the date the Temporary Admission is registered. If the re-export is not done in that period the company must pay customs duties and taxes as a regular import.

Under Drawback a company can ask for a duty and tax refund after exporting a product in which imported inputs were used for its production. Both regimes are executed and controlled by governmental institutions including LATU and National Customs Administration.

Products that can be imported under these regimes are the following:

  • Raw materials and intermediate products
  • Parts, motors, pieces and materials
  • Casts, moulds and models
  • Packing materials, containers, etc.
  • Other inputs

III - Agricultural and Food Products

Some agricultural and food products requires special licences and sanitary or phitosanitary certificates issued by relevant authorities in the country of origin to enter the country. Temporary import bans may be applied by the government when a product coming from a specific market is considered health threatening due to the presence of diseases or plagues. Examples of these products are:

  • fishery products
  • chickens and eggs
  • vegetal origin products
  • seeds
  • fruits

IV - Key Contact Information

National Customs Administration
Head Office
Tel.: (+598) 2915 0007
Fax: (+598) 2915 0007
Website: www.aduanas.gub.uy

National Ports Administration
General Management
Tel.: (+598) 1901 2819
Fax: (+598) 1901 2173
Website: www.anp.com.uy
Customer Service
Tel.:  (+598)  2901 2168 or  (+598)  0800 8128
Email: AtencionAClientes@anp.com.uy

National Chamber of Commerce
Head Office
Tel.: (+598) 2916 1277
Fax: (+598) 2916 1243
Website: www.camaradecomercio.com.uy

National Chamber of Industries
Head Office
Tel.: (+598) 2604 0464
Fax: (+598) 2604 0501
Website: www.ciu.com.uy

Association of Uruguayan Customs Brokers
Head Office:
Tel.: (+598) 2916 5612
Fax: (+598) 2916 5612 ext. 29
Email: adau@mail.adau.com.uy

V - Other Public Entities

Uruguay XXI
Director: Ec. Roberto Villamil
Address: Rincon 518/528, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2915 3838
Fax: (+598) 2916 3059
Email: rvillamil@uruguayxxi.gub.uy
Website: www.uruguayxxi.gub.uy

Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fishery
Website: www.mgap.gub.uy

Livestock Services - Main Office (Dirección General de Servicios Ganaderos - DGSG)
Director: Dr. Francisco Muzio
Address: Constituyente 1476, 2nd floor, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2412 6369
Fax: (+598) 2412 6304
Email: digesega@mgap.gub.uy
Website: www.mgap.gub.uy

Agricultural Services - Main Office (Dirección General de Servicios Agrícolas - DGSA)
Director: Ing. Agr. Inocencio Bertoni
Address: Av. Millán 4703, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2309 2219 / 2309 2074
Fax: (+598) 2309 2219 / 2309 2074 ext 167
Email: ibertoni@mgap.gub.uy
Website: www.mgap.gub.uy

National Office of Aquatic Ressources (Dirección Nacional de Recursos Acuáticos - DINARA)
Director: Dr. Daniel Gilardone
Address: Constituyente 1497, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2400 4689
Fax: (+598) 2401 3216
Email:  direcciongeneral@dinara.gub.uy or dgilardone@dinara.gub.uy
Website: www.dinara.gub.uy

Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM)
Minister: Ing. Quim. Roberto Kreimerman
Address: Paysandu and Lib. Brig. Gral. Lavalleja, 4th floor, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2900 0231
Fax: (+598) 2900 0291
Email: ministro@miem.gub.uy or infomiem@miem.gub.uy
Website: www.miem.gub.uy

National Energy  Office (Dirección Nacional de Energía - DNE)
Director: Dr. Ramón Méndez
Address: Mercedes 1041, 2nd floor, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2908 6313
Fax: (+598) 2902 1629
Email: director@dne.miem.gub.uy
Website: www.dne.gub.uy

National Industry Office (Dirección Nacional de Industrias - DNI)
Director: Ec. PhD. Sebastián Torres Ledezma
Address: Sarandí 690 - Ciudadela Bldg, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2916 2411 / 2916 2412
Fax: (+598) 2916 3651
Email: secretaria@dni.miem.gub.uy
Website: www.dni.gub.uy

National Mining and Geology Office (Dirección Nacional de Minería y Geología - DINAMIGE)
Director: Prof. Pier Rossi
Address: Hervidero 2861, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2200 1951
Fax: (+598) 2209 4905
Email: secretaria@dinamige.miem.gub.uy
Website: www.dinamige.gub.uy

Technological Laboratory of Uruguay (Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay - LATU)
President: Dr. Rodolfo Silveira
Address: Av. Italia 6201, Montevideo
Tel.: (+598) 2601 3724 ext. 200
Fax: (+598) 2600 4753
Email: atencionalcliente@latu.org.uy or presidencia@latu.org.uy
Website: www.latu.org.uy

May 2013