Uruguay’s industrial operations are largely based on the processing of raw materials from the livestock industry, which provides food, textiles and leather goods, among others. Since a first pulp mill was completed in 2007, cellulose has also become an important part of the country’s industrial base.
The Finnish forest group UPM-Kymmene owns the first cellulose factory located on the Uruguay River. In the summer of 2014, a second paper pulp mill, at Rio de la Plata, was inaugurated with eucalyptus as a raw material. It is jointly owned by Finnish-Swedish Stora Enso and the Chilean company Arauco and is considered to be the largest foreign investment in Uruguay’s history.
In 2017, UPM entered into an agreement with the state to build a third pulp mill, in the country’s interior.
The construction of the first two mills has caused conflict with Argentina (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Chemicals and oil products are also produced. Most industries are located in Montevideo.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Uruguay. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Previously, the industrial sector was protected by high protection duties and state aid. But when the country was opened to foreign competition after 1974, a large number of bankruptcies occurred, unemployment increased and production fell. The problems were exacerbated by the international economic downturn in the 1980s. A recovery occurred in the early 1990s, but thereafter production has dropped again due to reduced exports to Brazil and Argentina (see Economic overview). In Uruguay, a relatively large proportion of the industry is still state-owned.
Schools should reopen
President Luis Lacalle Pou announces that schools will reopen in June as the corona pandemic appears to be under control. Although Uruguay has not completely shut down, only about 750 coronary cases have been registered so far and 20 deaths in covid-19 have been reported. Physical distancing has worked well and health care has not become overworked.
Cruise crew is allowed ashore
The crew of the Australian-owned cruise ship Greg Mortimer is allowed to land in Uruguay, after spending nearly two months on board. Of the 60 crew members, 36 have been tested positive for the coronavirus sars-cov-2. The infected are transported to a hotel in Montevideo where they are quarantined, while the others are transferred to another hotel. Two crew members who were seriously ill in covid-19 have previously been taken to hospitals and one of them has died while the other is recovering. Greg Mortimer was on a cruise in Antarctica that was canceled on March 20 after the two closest countries – Argentina and Chile – closed their borders because of the corona pandemic. The ship then landed outside Montevideo but was not allowed to enter port until April 10. After a week, all passengers had been evacuated and flown to their home countries,
Borders are closed because of corona
Uruguay and Brazil agree to close the land border for passenger traffic between the countries for 30 days. Goods transport is still allowed and citizens and residents with permanent residence permits should still be able to pass. Brazil has closed all land borders to other neighboring states a few days earlier.
Lacalle Pou swears presidential speech
Luis Lacalle Pou takes over as president. Representative Tabaré Vázquez hands over the president’s order in a ceremony in which Spanish King Felipe and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attend. In his inaugural speech, Lacalle pou promises to accelerate the economy, fight crime and strengthen the Mercosur regional trade bloc. The 46-year-old former lawyer Lacalle Pou says a “state of emergency” prevails over the crime and plans to gather police chiefs to find new measures in the fight against it. With Lacalle Pou, the National Party (Blancos) returns to power for the first time since the period 1990-95, when Lacalle Pope’s father Luis Alberto Lacalle was president.