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Uruguay set a new exports record in 2012

As in recent years, a new export record was set at US$ 8.75 billion in 2012, increasing 9% with respect to the previous year. If we add goods exported through the free trade zones, this figure rises to US$ 9.83 billion. 

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Published by URUGUAY XXI

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Soy, frozen beef, rice, wheat, milk powder and cheese were the main products exported by Uruguay in 2012. If we include exports from the Nueva Palmira Free Trade Zone, cellulose pulp ranked third. 25% of exports came from the agricultural sector while the remaining 75% derived from the manufacturing industry. “Food and drink” exports were also noteworthy.  

The increase was mostly due to the surge in exported volume and not in prices, which was the main factor significantly impacting the 2011 increase in exports.  


Products were exported to 163 destinations in 2012, although the first five accounted for 50% of total exports for the year. Brazil, China and Argentina stood out as the main markets for Uruguay, with a share of 20%, 10.5% and 9.5%, respectively.

The main exports from the Nueva Palmira Free Trade Zone were soy and cellulose pulp, merchandise that was re-exported to China and Holland.

US$ 406 million was exported to Venezuela, 24.7% more than the previous year, the main exports were cheese and spreadable cheese (requesón) for US$ 176 million and fresh beef for US$ 58 million. 


Imports totaled US$ 8.53 billion in 2012, a value that stayed relatively stable compared to the previous year (US$ 8.56 billion), not including petroleum product imports.  

China was the main supplier of goods to Uruguay, displacing Argentina, which had ranked first in 2011. This greater participation from China was mainly due to the increase of telephone, telecom and computer equipment purchases, collectively growing 62% with respect to 2011.

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