Uruguay shipped US$7.6 billion worth of products around the globe in 2018. To give some perspective, that dollar figure represents a tiny 0.04% of overall global exports estimated at $17.546 trillion one year earlier.
Applying a continental lens, 35.1% of Uruguayan exports by value were delivered to Asian countries, while 31.8% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Uruguay shipped 15.2% worth of goods to Europe with another 9.9% arriving in North America and 5.1% to Africa.
Uruguay’s Top 15 Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Uruguay’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, these countries imported the most Uruguayan shipments by dollar value during 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Uruguayan exports.
- China: US$1.7 billion (22.2% of total Uruguayan exports)
- Brazil: $1.2 billion (15.7%)
- United States: $465.6 million (6.1%)
- Argentina: $423.2 million (5.5%)
- Turkey: $279.1 million (3.7%)
- Algeria: $229.6 million (3%)
- Netherlands: $210.7 million (2.8%)
- Mexico: $198.3 million (2.6%)
- Russia: $175.3 million (2.3%)
- Germany: $164.3 million (2.1%)
- Paraguay: $141.9 million (1.9%)
- Peru: $124 million (1.6%)
- Portugal: $114.7 million (1.5%)
- Iraq: $114 million (1.5%)
- Israel: $110.4 million (1.4%)
Almost three-quarters (73.9%) of Uruguayan exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Among the top importers, Iraq increased its import purchases from Uruguay at the fastest pace, up 137.7% from 2017 to 2018. The second-leading growth customer was Algeria via its 82.7% improvement trailed by Russia (up 52.7%), Portugal (up 39.7%) then Turkey (up 17.7%).
Leading the decliners among the top import customers was Germany (down -17.8%) and Israel (down -16.5%).
Uruguay incurred an overall -$1.4 billion trade deficit during 2018. That amount results from a 139.3% expansion from the -$568.5 million in red ink one year earlier.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Uruguay incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
- Argentina: -US$751.6 million (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
- Brazil: -$456.8 million
- Angola: -$359.3 million
- United States: -$338.4 million
- Nigeria: -$330.3 million
- India: -$175.5 million
- Spain: -$110.9 million
- Bahamas: -$106.2 million
- France: -$87.1 million
- South Korea: -$77.4 million
Uruguay’s trade with Angola went from a $3.9 million surplus in 2017 to -$359.3 million in red ink for 2018. Similarly, Uruguay generated a $33,000 surplus trading with the Bahamas in 2017 but a -$106.2 million deficit one year earlier.
Among Uruguay’s other trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Uruguayan deficits with Nigeria (up 97.2%), Brazil (up 31.3%) and France (up 21.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Uruguay’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Uruguay to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Uruguay incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- China: US$324 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2018)
- Algeria: $216.6 million
- Turkey: $147.9 million
- Russia: $135.4 million
- Iraq: $114 million
- Netherlands: $102.5 million
- Portugal: $101 million
- Israel: $99.5 million
- Peru: $87 million
- Cuba: $48.5 million
Uruguay’s trade with China went from a -$212.5 million deficit in 2017 to $324 million in black ink for 2018.
Among Uruguay’s other top trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Uruguayan surpluses with Iraq (up 137.7%), Russia (up 85.4%) and Algeria (up 79.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Uruguay’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Uruguay to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Uruguayan Trading Partners
Not one Uruguayan corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Uruguay. Selected examples are shown below:
- Aeromás (airliner)
- Alas Uruguay (airlines start-up)
- Effa Motor (vehicles)
- Texlond Corporation (aircraft manufacturer)
- Union Agriculture Group (rice, soya beans, wheat, sheep, cattle)
See also Uruguay’s Top 10 Exports, Uruguay’s Top 10 Imports and Capital Facts for Montevideo, Uruguay
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on South America: Uruguay. Accessed on April 6, 2019
Forbes 2018 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 6, 2019
Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on April 6, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 6, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 6, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 6, 2019
Wikipedia, Categories: Companies of Uruguay. Accessed on April 6, 2019
Wikipedia, Uruguay. Accessed on April 6, 2019