Living in Uruguay

Economic stimulus from free trade zones in Uruguay: A detailed analysis

WTC Montevideo World Trade Center

Economic stimulus from free trade zones in Uruguay: A detailed analysis

Contribution to GDP and investment growth

Looking at the economic landscape of South America, the free trade zones in Uruguay clearly stand out. These zones are not only drivers of economic progress, but also evidence of Uruguay’s openness to global markets.

The free trade zones in Uruguay recorded remarkable growth in 2021, contributing an estimated USD 3,792 million, or 6.18%, to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This increase is also reflected in investments, which reached 1,616 million US dollars in the same period, an increase of 107% compared to the previous year.

About the benefits

A key aspect that makes Uruguay’s free zones so attractive to investors is the combination of advanced infrastructure and favorable tax conditions. These framework conditions create ideal conditions for companies wishing to operate on an international level.

Exports and economic development

Exports and economic development

Last year, Uruguay’s free trade zones made a significant contribution to the national gross domestic product. This success reflects the commitment and innovation of the companies located there, with 678 export companies established in free trade zones exporting a total of US$ 5,124 million abroad, an increase of 12.6% over the previous year. This data confirms the key role that free zones play in boosting exports and the country’s economic development.

The role of free zones in Uruguay’s economic dynamism

When analyzing the contribution of each development company, the role of Zonamerica stands out, leading the ranking with a gross value added of 1.515 billion US dollars, followed by Zona Franca Punta Pereira and World Trade Center Free Zone. The industrial sector accounted for 74.22% of total investment, followed by the traditional sectors and the service sector.

The strategic use of free trade zones in Uruguay has enabled the country to significantly increase its export ratio. These zones act as a catalyst for the access of Uruguayan products to international markets

Importance of employment and human development

In addition to their economic importance, the free trade zones in Uruguay are also important employers. The creation of jobs in these zones not only supports the local economy, but also improves the quality of life for many families.

The free zones also play an important role in job creation. In 2021, a total of 20,197 people were employed there, an increase of 21.8 % compared to the previous year. This growth reflects the positive impact of free zones on the quality of life and human development in Uruguay.

What are free trade zones in Uruguay and why are they important?

Free trade zones are customs territories where commercial, industrial or service activities can be carried out with special tax and customs benefits. These areas promote investment, economic diversification, job creation and regional development.

zonamerica free trade zones
zonamerica free trade zones

Promotion and development of the free trade zone regime in Uruguay

The free trade zone regime in Uruguay has been declared to be in the national interest in order to promote investment, diversify the productive structure, create jobs and increase national added value. There are currently 11 specialized free trade zones in Uruguay, which contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth.

World Trade Center (WTC) in Uruguay: promoting business development

WTC Montevideo World Trade Center

With its modern facilities and high-quality services, the World Trade Center (WTC) in Uruguay offers a favorable environment for business development.With a large number of national and international companies established in its facilities, the WTC promotes innovation, networking and economic growth in Uruguay.

WTC Punta del Este: A new horizon for corporate development

The World Trade Center project in Punta del Este is in the full construction phase and is expected to be completed in the first four months of 2025. The total investment is estimated at 65 million US dollars.

Why is it important for Maldonado?

The World Trade Center project in Punta del Este represents a unique opportunity to boost employment and economic development in the region. This modern infrastructure, in which an estimated 65 million US dollars will be invested, is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion in the first four months of 2025. The WTC Punta del Este will not only be an architectural symbol, but also a center for business, trade and service activities that will attract both national and international companies. The project will not only create direct jobs during the construction phase, but will also provide sustainable employment opportunities once it is operational, contributing to the economic diversification and long-term growth of the department of Maldonado.

WTC Punta del Este World Trade Center
WTC Punta del Este World Trade Center

In conclusion, projects such as the World Trade Center and free trade zones in Uruguay are a central pillar of the country’s economic development. Their continued expansion and success are a testament to Uruguay’s potential in global trade.


Other free trade zones

  • Located in the rural area of Canelones, very close to the airport.
  • This is the state free trade zone, which is managed directly by the state.
  • The Punta Pereira S.A. free zone will be located in the department of Colonia.
  • Designed for the new world trend in services.
  • Developed and managed by a group of companies for commercial activities.
  • Located in the city center, opposite the port of Montevideo.
  • Pioneer in the development of this business model and with more than 20 years of experience.
  • Located 93 km north of Montevideo on national highway no. 5.
  • It is a modern international park with industry, logistics and business development.
  • UPM Fray Bentos is the customs facility where a large part of UPM’s projects in Uruguay are developed.
  • It is located at kilometer 49 of the national road Nº 1 in front of the Rond Point access to the city of Libertad.
  • The purpose of this free trade zone is the production of cellulose by the company UPM and the establishment of other industries related to these processes.
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