Uruguay shipped US$7.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. To give some perspective, that dollar figure represents a tiny 0.04% of overall global exports estimated at $19.285 trillion one year earlier.
Applying a continental lens, 39.4% of Uruguayan exports by value were delivered to Asian countries, while 30.8% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Uruguay shipped 14.1% worth of goods to Europe with another 9.6% arriving in North America, 5.8% in Africa and 0.2% in Oceania led by French Polynesia, New Zealand and Australia.
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 greatest Uruguayan shipments by dollar value during 2019. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Uruguayan exports.
- China: US$2.1 billion (27.5% of total Paraguayan exports)
- Brazil: $1.1 billion (14.3%)
- United States: $458.6 million (5.9%)
- Argentina: $377 million (4.8%)
- Netherlands: $223.1 million (2.9%)
- Algeria: $210.4 million (2.7%)
- Russia: $153.8 million (2%)
- Mexico: $146.8 million (1.9%)
- Turkey: $136.1 million (1.7%)
- Germany: $126.7 million (1.6%)
- Paraguay: $121.5 million (1.6%)
- Portugal: $120.6 million (1.5%)
- Peru: $111.1 million (1.4%)
- Chile: $81.6 million (1%)
- Cuba: $79.1 million (1%)
Less than three-quarters (71.8%) of Uruguayan exports in 2019 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Among the top importers, Cuba increased its import purchases from Uruguay at the fastest pace, up 62% from 2018 to 2019. The second-leading growth customer was China via its 26.3% improvement trailed by the Netherlands (up 5.9%) then Portugal (up 5.2%).
Leading the decliners among the top import customers was Turkey (down -51.2%) and Mexico (down -26%).
Overall Uruguay incurred a -$497.6 million trade deficit during 2019, down by -63.4% from the -$1.4 billion 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$649.8 million (country-specific trade deficit in 2019)
- Brazil: -$535.3 million
- United States: -$418.9 million
- Angola: -$364.3 million
- Nigeria: -$239 million
- India: -$140.7 million
- Spain: -$119.5 million
- Uruguay: -$111.7 million
- Switzerland: -$100.4 million
- South Korea: -$95.8 million
Among Uruguay’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Uruguayan deficits with Switzerland (up 142.9%), United States (up 23.8%) and South Korea (up 23.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
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$837.7 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2019)
- Algeria: $178 million
- Netherlands: $144.7 million
- Russia: $121.8 million
- Portugal: $112.8 million
- Turkey: $89.5 million
- Cuba: $78.8 million
- Peru: $71.5 million
- Bolivia: $45.4 million
- Thailand: $35.1 million
Among Uruguay’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Uruguayan surpluses with China (up 158.6%), Cuba (up 62.6%) and Thailand (up 44.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
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: Country Profiles. Accessed on February 5, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 5, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on February 5, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 5, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 5, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 5, 2020
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on February 5, 2020
Wikipedia, Categories: Companies of Uruguay. Accessed on February 5, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on February 5, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on February 5, 2020
Wikipedia, Uruguay. Accessed on February 5, 2020
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Montevideo, Uruguay. Accessed on February 5, 2020