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Map of Uruguay

Map of Uruguay.
flag of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Relationship with New Zealand

Teatro Solís, Montevideo, Uruguay.
Teatro Solís, Montevideo, Uruguay. [1]

New Zealand and Uruguay have an easy affinity based on similarity of size, southern hemisphere co-location and the role of agriculture in external trade. The two countries cooperate closely on international agricultural trade access issues in the World Trade Organisation and the Cairns Group. As a fellow dairy exporter, Uruguay shares common interests with New Zealand on international dairy access issues. There is significant New Zealand agribusiness investment in Uruguay. A working holiday agreement was initiated between the two countries in October 2003. Since April 1998, the New Zealand Ambassador in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been responsible for Uruguay. Previously, the accreditation was from Santiago. New Zealand also has an Honorary Consul in Uruguay, Manuel (Mac) Herrera.

Trade and economic links

Business links

New Zealand commodity exports to Uruguay for the December 2010 year totalled NZ$9million. The main items were wool, agricultural/horticultural machinery, paper-based packaging, seeds, fruit, spores for sowing and bovine semen.

NewZealand commodity imports from Uruguay for the same period totalled NZ$1 million. The main items were fish fillets and other fish meat, food preparations and pharmaceutical preparations.

There has been significant New Zealand agribusiness investment in Uruguay.  PGG Wrightson has an important seeds business in Uruguay, along with other investments in rural services.  Other examples include Livestock Improvement Corporation’s partnership with local company Gensur to distribute animal genetics, and Compac’s plant in Uruguay where it assembles fruit sorting machinery to sell throughout Latin America. New Zealand interests retain a minority shareholding in New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay.

AgResearch has signed a joint venture with Uruguayan agricultural research institute INIA and Argentine seed company Gentos to develop and sell plant cultivars in South America. INIA has research relationships also with Lincoln and Massey Universities. Lincoln also has a memorandum of understanding supporting research with Uruguay’s University of the Republic. NewZealand firms have been involved in upgrading Uruguay dairy processing facilities.


New Zealand agricultural science is highly respected in Uruguay.  For some decades, New Zealanders have been associated with World Bank consultancies aimed at enhancing Uruguay agricultural development.  NewZealand livestock has been exported to Uruguay (the Corriedale breed dominates Uruguay’s large sheep flock) and Uruguayan plants have been used in New Zealand drought research. Other areas of mutual interest include pasture development, herd/bull progeny testing, and agricultural training.

Uruguay’s agriculture extension agency - Plan Agropecuario - is developing new links with agriculture training institutes in New Zealand and AgResearch to improve skills in the industry. The CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry led a NewZealand government delegation to the Americas Innovation Forum held in Uruguay in March 2008 to share New Zealand’s experience in innovation in the agriculture sector.  Several Uruguay farmer and technical adviser delegations have made study visits to New Zealand in recent years, including in 2008 a group of 45members of the Uruguay FUCREA farmers’ network, with Latin America Strategy Fund (LASF) support for the travel of its Technical Coordinator for Livestock and Agriculture.

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At the last census, in March 2006, 297 people normally residing in NewZealand were born in Uruguay (up from 60 in 2001). A record 62 permanent residence applications from Uruguayans were granted in the year to June 2008.

Visas are no longer required by New Zealanders or Uruguayans visiting each other’s countries for up to three months.

A working holiday agreement allows 200 young Uruguayans and 200 young NewZealanders each year to spend 12 months travelling, working and studying in the other country.

Education and exchange programmes

Since 2003, a number of Uruguayans have studied agriculture, environment and good governance related subjects at NewZealand universities under tertiary-level study awards from the NewZealand’s Aid Programme. Other technical cooperation funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme has included activities in the areas of viticulture/oenology, standards and conformance training, farm management, dairy industry familiarisation and scoping of a possible carbon sink accounting system for Uruguay. In recent years the Latin American Development Programme has funded two scholarships per year for Uruguayan students to study in New Zealand, in the field of good governance or agriculture.

Science and technology

A new area of collaboration is the measurement and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. In July 2008, Uruguay hosted the first regional workshop in Latin America of the Livestock Emissions Abatement Research Network (LEARN), which was launched by New Zealand in December 2007. In August 2008 New Zealand awarded the first ever LEARN Fellowship to a scientist from Uruguay’s INIA agricultural research institute, Dr Veronica Ciganda, to spend time studying at Lincoln University.

Political links

Multilateral links

New Zealand and Uruguay cooperate in several multilateral fora. Uruguay is a fellow member of the Cairns Group and shares New Zealand’s objectives for open, unsubsidised world agricultural trade. The two countries collaborate on a range of United Nations issues including in the areas of human rights and the environment, and have an active dialogue on Antarctica and Southern Ocean fisheries matters.

State sector reform

During President Tabaré Vázquez’ visit to New Zealand in November 2007 a new area of bilateral collaboration was agreed, aimed at sharing with the Uruguayan government NewZealand’s experience in public sector management reform. Subsequently, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of Planning and Budget of Uruguay paid study visits to New Zealand, and a NewZealand academic made a reciprocal visit to Uruguay to advance cooperation in this area. In July 2009 New Zealand and Uruguay agreed to collaborate in the context of a “Peer Partnership Project” funded by the World Bank.  This saw a further series of engagements between the two governments and Victoria University’s School of Government.

People to people links

Cultural links

Radio broadcaster Emiliano Cotelo visited New Zealand in June 2007 as Prime Minister’s Fellow. Uruguayan Journalists specialising in agriculture, education, science and technology and cultural themes have visited New Zealand with support from the Latin America Strategy Fund (LASF) and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise in recent years. New Zealand business journalist Rod Oram visited Uruguay in September 2008 with support from the LASF.

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Recent visits by high level New Zealanders to Uruguay

Recent visits by high level Uruguayans to New Zealand

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Key facts


Official Name - Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Land Area – 177,500 sq km

Population – 3.3 million (2008 estimate)

Capital City – Montevidéo

Religion – Predominantly Catholic

Official Language – Spanish

Currency – Uruguayan Peso (UYU)

Exchange Rate – USD 1 =  19 UYU (May 2011)

EEZ – 200 miles


Political system – Republic

National government

Encuentro Progresista-Frente Amplio (EP-FA Broad Front)

National legislature – Bicameral congress of 31 member senate and 99 member chamber of deputies (proportional representation)

Last election October 2009

Next election due October 2014

Head of State –José Mujica

Head of Government –José Mujica

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Key Ministers

Key Opposition MPs – Jorge Larrañaga, Leader of Partido Nacional

Main political parties –

Frente Amplio ("Broad Front")
Partido Nacional (Blancos)
Partido Colorado (PC)
Partido Independiente (PI)


Trade with New Zealand

New Zealand/Uruguay top 20 trade figures are available from Statistics New Zealand [external link]

NZ Exports (FOB)

NZ$9 million (2010)

Main Exports


Agricultural/horticultural machinery

Paper-based packaging

Seeds, fruit, spores for sowing

Bovine semen

NZ$2.1 million

NZ$1.6 million

NZ$0.71 million

NZ$0.63 million

NZ$0.47 million

NZ Imports (CIF)

NZ$1 million  (2010)

Main Imports

Total Trade

Fish fillets and other fish meat

Food preparations

Pharmaceutical preparations

NZ$10 million

NZ$0.6 million

NZ$0.16 million

NZ$0.13 million

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The New Zealand Embassy in Argentina is also responsible for Uruguay [external link].

The Uruguayan Embassy in Australia is also responsible for New Zealand.

Travel advice

The New Zealand government's Safe Travel website has comprehensive travel information including advice on the safety and security of travel to Uruguay [external link].

Further enquiries may be directed to:

Consular Division

Tel: +64 4 439 8000
Fax: +64 4 439 8532


New Zealanders and Uruguayans travelling to each other's country for less than three months do not need to apply for a visa beforehand.


[1] Solis Theatre (Spanish: Teatro Solís) is the name of Uruguay's oldest theatre. It was built in 1856 and is currently owned by the government of Montevideo. It is located in Plaza Independencia (Ciudad Vieja).

Photo courtesy Travelpal.com

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Page last updated: Monday, 09 December 2013 13:00 NZDT