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The Eastern Republic of Uruguay (Uruguay) is a South American democratic constitutional republic. According to the World Bank, it is one of the more stable, affluent countries of Latin America, and is ranked first among Latin American countries in a number of categories, including lack of corruption and quality of living. The government of Uruguay and its central bank, the Central Bank of Uruguay, have adopted liberal currency and economic policies, and created a favorable environment for foreign direct investment and foreign trade. In 2013 Uruguay was named country of the year by The Economist for its innovative social and personal rights policy initiatives, such as the legalization of cannabis and same-sex marriage.

Uruguays free-market economy relies on a well-educated workforce and exports from its agricultural sector. The World Bank ranks the country second in the region for income equality, per capita income, and inflows of foreign direct investment.

Uruguay has signed a number of investment agreements with the United States, including a Bilateral Investment Treaty, a Customs Mutual Assistance agreement, a Science and Technology agreement, and an Open Skies agreement. It is a member of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, World Bank, and a founding member of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) and Mercosur.

Uruguay’s money transfer regulations

Uruguay permits its currency, the peso, to be freely transferred into and out of the country, and there are no restrictions on money transfers or currency conversions. The government of Uruguay freely encourages foreign direct investment and does not impose restrictions or limitations related to investments or international transfers, including remittances on earnings or investment capital.

Since 2002, the peso has floated freely, with minimal intervention from Uruguays central bank. Investors are encouraged to purchase or sell pesos at the official market rate, and sending money into or out of the country is made easy by the number of foreign exchange brokers and banks operating within Uruguay. The Central Bank of Uruguay ensures all financial institutions operating within the country follow relevant regulations for international financial transactions.

Foreign investment in Uruguay

The Government of Uruguay continues to encourage foreign direct investment into the country, and has signed a number of economic and trade agreements with the United States, Europe, and its South American neighbors to encourage investment activity within the country. Uruguay has also established liberal, business-friendly laws and a trustworthy business environment to help foster foreign investment.

The Uruguayan government treats local and foreign investors equally under the law, and foreign investors are not required to meet any requirements to invest in the country. All investors are protected by a robust arbitration or judicial system for settling disputes, and Uruguays judiciary system is considered transparent and reliable.

Due to the countrys solid growth since early 2000 and its skillful economic management during the global recession of 2008-2009, Uruguay has managed to attract increased flows of foreign direct investment over the past 10 years. Inflows into the country have increased from approximately USD $0.4 billion in 2003 to USD $2.8 billion in 2013. The sectors primarily benefiting from this increased investment include agriculture, construction and real estate, pulp mills, and the food and beverages and chemicals industries. Recent large-scale investments include Finnish firm UPM contributing USD $1.2 billion to a pulp mill project, and the Swedish-Chilean-Finnish company, Montes del Plata, investing USD $1.9 billion for an industrial plant and land project.

Uruguay’s monetary and regulatory authority

The Government of Uruguay and the Central Bank of Uruguay are responsible for setting the countrys fiscal and economic policies. The central bank supervises the domestic banking system and oversees all financial transactions, including the transfer of cash and electronic payments, to ensure they meet national and international guidelines for domestic and international currency transactions.


Uruguays currency, the Uruguayan peso, has been the official currency since Uruguays settlement by Europeans. The peso has gone through numerous iterations over the years and its current iteration, the peso uruguayo, was introduced in 1993. The peso currency system is based on hundredths, with one peso equal to 100 centesimos.

The latest currency was introduced in 1994, with the issue of stainless-steel 10, 20, and 50 centesimos pieces, and in 2000 and 2003, with the issue of brass 1 and 2 pesos uruguayos coins and 5 and 10 pesos uruguayos coins. Today, pesos in circulation include the 1, 2, 5, 10, and 50 pesos uruguayo coins, and the 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, and 2,000 pesos uruguayo banknotes.

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