Last updated in March 2014
Germany and Uruguay have traditionally enjoyed very good relations.
Uruguay’s President Mujica paid an official visit to Germany from 15 to 19 October 2011, meeting with the Federal Chancellor and the Federal President in Berlin. He was also the guest of honour at the Latin American Day organised by the Business Association for Latin America in Hamburg. President Mujica was accompanied by a large business delegation.
Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited Uruguay on 9 March 2010 and Uruguayan Foreign Minister Almagro paid a return visit to Germany on 8 April 2013.
There are currently some 10,000 Germans living in Uruguay, including citizens with dual nationality, along with another 40,000-odd ethnic Germans – an unusually large proportion of the overall population.
Since the second half of the nineteenth century, German immigrants have made an important contribution to the country’s development. Uruguay offered asylum to German-speaking Jews from 1935 onwards. German Mennonite communities emigrated toUruguay after the Second World War.
Leading figures in Uruguayan society are well informed about German affairs. Germany is also seen as an important member of the European Union.
Of Germany’s political foundations, theFriedrich Ebert Foundation and theKonrad Adenauer Foundation have officesin Montevideo, from where they conduct mainly regional programmes. Other German foundations (the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and, since 2000, the Rosa LuxemburgFoundation) support various projects without having their own local offices.
In 2012, Germany was the biggest European importer of Uruguayan goods and currently ranks eighth among the principal buyers of the country’s exports worldwide, behind Brazil, China, Argentina, Russia and Venezuela. According to Federal Statistical Office figures, in 2012 Germany imported from Uruguay goods worth EUR 291 million. During the same period, Uruguay’s imports from Germany stood at EUR 247 million.
According to Germany Trade & Invest figures, total German direct investment in Uruguay increased to EUR 384 million in 2011.
There are at present 30 German companies operating in Uruguay, mainly in the industrial sector, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and the transport and logistics sector. German companies generally serve the Uruguayan market through local representatives/partners or through sales offices in third countries, either from their production facilities in Brazil and Argentina or from outside Mercosur. German companies, as well as German technology and funding, also feature prominently in the renewable energy sector.
The German-Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce in Montevideo was founded in 1916 and currently has over 500 members, more than 50 of them domiciled abroad, some in Germany; it is affiliated to the regional chamber in Buenos Aires.
The following bilateral economic agreements are in place:
- trade agreement of 18 April 1953 (most-favoured nation)
- framework agreement on Technical Cooperation of 31 March 1971
- investment promotion agreement of 4 May 1987, which entered into force on 18 June 1990
- double taxation agreement of 9 March 2010, which entered into force on 28 December 2011 (applied as of 1 January 2012 in accordance with Article 31, paragraph 2)
Following the visit to Germany by former President Vázquez, it was agreed to establish a partnership between the ports of Hamburg and Montevideo in 2005. This partnership was renewed during the visit to Uruguay by Hamburg’s First Mayor Olaf Scholz in April 2013.
There is close cultural and academic exchange between Germany and Uruguay.
Cooperation between universities, research and cultural institutions looks back on a long tradition. A German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) lecturer has been teaching at the University of the Republic’s ((UdelaR) Faculty of Humanities and Education Science since 2013.
Thanks to its high-profile programme of events, the Goethe Institute in Montevideo, now in its 50th year, is an established and recognised feature of the Uruguayan capital’s cultural scene. Its German courses are very well attended and demand is constantly growing.
In 2013, the German School Montevideo was awarded the Excellent German School Abroad quality seal by the Central Agency for Schools Abroad and the StandingConference of theMinisters ofEducation and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany. Founded in 1857, it is the oldest German binational school in Latin America, offering both the German university entrance examination (Abitur) and the Uruguayan equivalent. The school currently has some 1,500 students (including kindergarten children). German is currently taught as an optional subject at two state schools in Uruguay under the Federal Foreign Office’s Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH).
Cultural relations between Germany and Uruguay were institutionalised by a cultural agreement that has been in force since 8 May 1989. Cultural exchange is given substance by music and artistic events, measures to promote the German language (Netzwerk Deutsch) and by traditional events organised by the country’s German associations. Sports promotion is also an important element of bilateral exchange.