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Uruguay: Latin America’s Hidden Jewel

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High economic and education levels and an attractive regulatory environment are among the key benefits Uruguay offers foreign investors.

BY JOACHIM BAMRUD

Uruguay may not get the same attention as its larger neighbors in Mercosur, but it has a good story to tell: The South American country ranks among Latin Americas best countries when it comes to business environment, economic and political freedom and transparency.

"There are many advantages for doing business in Uruguay," says Marko Janhunen, a vice president at Finland-based pulp manufacturer Botnia, the largest foreign investor in Uruguay. "Uruguay is [a] politically, economically and socially very stable country.  It has [a] good level of basic and higher education and therefore it is easy for companies to hire people with excellent skills and ... the government ... is favorably disposed to foreign investments."

Last, but not least, is the large potential for rapid growth eucalyptus trees, which are used to produce pulp and paper. The combination of eucalyptus and attractive local conditions have lured not only Botnia, but also other pulp producers such as Spain-based Ence and Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso. Combined, the three pulp producers are investing nearly $3 billion in Uruguay over the next eight years and generating more than 6,000 direct jobs.  

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