In 2024, a mobility agreement for young people will allow English people to live and work in Uruguay and give Uruguayans the opportunity to go to England, which means even more commercial and cultural exchange. But dialogues between the governments of both countries will also continue to develop more business, in a scenario where the flow of trade has increased and in which show Uruguay as a hub for exports to the region commented United Kingdom Ambassador Faye O’Connor Coffee & Shop.
As part of Expo Prado, the diplomat spoke about business opportunities and challenges in the business relationship. Below is a summary of the interview he conducted The Observer.
How is business between Uruguay and the UK?
The flow of trade between our countries has increased and this increase affects both sides, but is much greater due to Uruguay’s exports to the United Kingdom, especially cereals. I think this has to do with the conflict in Europe (Russia-Ukraine war) and the discussions we have had with Uruguayan traders since the beginning of the conflict about their possible role in providing products in the gap that the Ukraine and Russia have left behind. But other sectors such as technology are also growing very quickly.
What English-language services and products are available in Uruguay?
We always have our favorites like whiskey or machines that are still going strong in the market. But I also want to make further progress in the growing agritech companies. I see Uruguay and its sustainable agriculture as part of the solution to a global problem such as emissions (of greenhouse gases) and the scarcity of resources such as food and water.
The Embassy of the United Kingdom once again participated in the exhibition of the Rural Association of Uruguay due to its “commercial roots that have to do with cooperation in agriculture,” commented the ambassador.
O’Connor was responsible for presenting 21 awards to 11 British breeds competing in the sheep and cattle competitions and stressed that it was very important to her to support those producing with British genetics.
In addition, an expert in agricultural development technology traveled from England to give a conference on how to increase production in the livestock sector while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Three British companies from genetics, animal products and water treatment and storage were also present.
“We also have a delegation from the Facklands because the agricultural relations with Uruguay are very strong and interesting. “They were a country focused on raising livestock and they began to diversify their mindset in fishing and have made their economy much stronger,” he commented, highlighting that Uruguay sells fruits and vegetables to the islands and has several ships from arriving there at the port of Montevideo to transport workers, boosting trade in Uruguay.
The Ambassador of the United Kingdom stands at the Expo Prado.
What is the dialogue between the embassy and the Uruguayan government?
I see government support for companies. Minister David Rutley came to Uruguay and we organized meetings with Uruguayan and British companies working here and we have already confirmed our second trade dialogue, which will take place in London on December 5th.
When I arrived in Uruguay, the flow of trade between the two countries was perhaps a little weak, but we were completely on the right track. We also have some processes or systems that help us focus on where we can change the game or support each other.
What are the challenges in trade relations between Uruguay and the United Kingdom?
One of the biggest difficulties – and this is a good thing to have – is the lack of knowledge on one side about the other side. And I say that it’s good to have because it’s pretty easy to change. It is not that there is corruption throughout the system, which is very difficult and takes many generations to change and is a brake on many British businesses in many global markets.
We demonstrate to (UK) companies the stability of Uruguay in terms of the good functioning of its institutions, how good the rule of law is here and the possibility of being a fairly stable and good platform for exporting or distributing products throughout Mercosur or the region .
When British companies think about expanding in Latin America, they are usually drawn to Brazil due to its size. However, many other American countries have a differentiated offering that may be better for a sector or product, even if it is sometimes a bit complicated to make it possible. British companies are looking at these other markets and that’s what we’re trying to do.
We explain to companies that they not only have to listen to what we say from the message, but also look at the global statistics. The reality is that when Uruguay is not at the top in America, it is second only to Chile. Uruguay is the new Chile and many of the UK companies understand what Chile has to offer, which is not that big but works.