MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay is seeking to present itself as a hub for European companies to boost their businesses in the region through a forum jointly organized forum with the European Union.
The 1st Forum of European Investment in Uruguay, taking place in a luxury hotel in the heart of Montevideo on June 21-22, also aims to attract investment and strengthen trade links, sources from the investment agency Uruguay XXI, the event organizer, told EFE on Wednesday.
One of the four pillars aimed at capturing new business is global services – those services not associated with transport or tourism – whose development is linked to the field of technology and new business practices.
This means establishing regional corporate centers in the country, which “are operation centers for international companies that use Uruguay as a hub to boost their business in the region,” according to Alejandro Ferrari, manager of the global services program of Uruguay XXI.
According to Ferrari, there are several different ways of setting up corporate centers, such as regional headquarters, shared service centers, technology development centers, or research and development centers, among others.
He stressed that in order to set this forum apart from the rest, Uruguay XXI, as well as the national authorities and an EU delegation, have decided that international companies already established in Uruguay will also take part in the panel discussions so that they can explain their experiences to colleagues in other firms.
“We have the BESTSELLER company from Denmark, which manufactures many well-known brands of clothing in Uruguay, they have centralized their sales for the whole region here as well as created a regional showroom along with support activities,” said the manager.
Other examples are the French firm Teotys and the Swedish company SKF, which along with BESTSELLER will be the speakers accompanying the Undersecretary of Economy, Pablo Ferreri, in a session dedicated to investment opportunities and global services.
It is an industry that is booming and that in Uruguay “already exceeds 2,000 companies, 20,000 jobs and $2.8 billion,” said Ferrari, adding that these figures translated to almost “20 percent of total exports of goods and services for the country.”
In addition to the events focused on global services, the forum will also prioritize the infrastructure, energy, and agribusiness investment sectors.
With regards to the measures that Uruguay is implementing to become the gateway to Latin America for European investors, the expert stressed that the government “is always reviewing the regulatory framework to better facilitate business.”
He also said that the laws on free trade zones, information, double taxation treaties, as well as a future trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur, “are the most significant steps we are taking to continue making progress in this trade stream.”