Import regulations and customs duties
Uruguay applies the harmonised Customs System. Customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods. However, Uruguay applies some minimum price for textile and clothing imports. Importers have to pay the difference between the amount of the invoice and the minimum price. The custom duties are payable on that minimal price. Uruguay is not part of the WTO.
Uruguay is a member of the MERCOSUR (Mercado Comun del Sur, gathering Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay and Uruguay), aimed at creating a free trade zone, a common external tariff and a free circulation zone for goods, services, capitals and persons. Customs duties between member countries were theoretically abolished in 1994, with nevertheless a lot of exceptions, according to the "adaptation regime" (Regimen de adecuacion).
Harbour taxes are levied by the Ports National Administracion. It is applied in USD per ton. A royalty of Imports control ( TCI) of 1 % of the CIF value is charged by the Central Bank of Uruguay. There is a customs royalty (TSA) of 0.2 % on the CIF value, and a special services royalty in USD according to the value of the goods.
Besides that, Uruguay applies various taxes on sale:
- IMESI (Impuesto Especifico Interno, specific internal tax): applicable to the first sale. According to the nature of the product, it will be calculated either on the actual value of the sale or on the value that has been officially fixed by the State. The latter is set up on a six-month basis and revised every 2 months to take the inflation into account. The basis of calculation involves a discrimination between imported and local products.
The Business to Consumer (B to C) market
The main shopping centre of the country is Montevideo and its suburbs. Some other important commercial zones are: Punta east of Maldonado, Paysandu, Salto and Colonia. The urban population is very different from the rural one because of income disparities. City-dwellers consume like Europeans, while farmers consume traditionally. Tourists are characterised by their luxurious style, while the average consumer is characterised by his conservative character and his resistance to progress. The commercial distribution is handled by small and average shopkeepers with a family background. Big shopping centres have recently come up in Montevideo. At present there are 4 such centres.
The wholesale business is dominated by importers / distributors who supply big retail chains and small retail dealers.
There are 3 big distributors specialised in food, clothing or other average or low range consumer goods: Disco, Tienda Inglesa and Devoto. Finished or semi finished industrial goods distribution is carried out by distributor agents (there are no specialised chains). Franchising has just begun to develop in Uruguay. The most important trade fair is the rural show of the Prado in Montevideo, based on agro-industry and multi-sector business.
Transportation of goods
The conformity certification bodies are the Uruguayan Institute of Technical Standards (UNITES) and the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay (LATU). The standards ISO is recognised.
Patents and brands