Montevideo — Uruguay is preparing the opening of its embassy in Turkey, seeking to position itself in a key area between Europe and Asia. The resolution indicates strengthen the bilateral link while the government of the president Luis Lacalle Pou promotes talks for a free trade agreement, while it is a key market for the export of live cattle.
One of the first steps once the embassy is set up will be the opening of an Economic and Commercial Department (DEC), Ambassador Hugo Cayrus, a career Foreign Service official who will be in charge of the mission, told the Senate International Affairs Committee days ago. From there they will work for the arrival in Turkey of commercial missions of Uruguayan businessmen as well as the promotion of the regime of investors in force in Uruguay.
In the records of the Uruguayan consulate in Istanbul, there are 38 Uruguayans, so Faced with a small colony, the center of work will be commercial, it being understood that Turkey is becoming more and more preponderant in international trade. In front of the Parliament, Ambassador Cayrus considered “an opening in a country like Turkey important, for being a regional power and for the way in which its importance has increased at the political, economic and commercial level”. “I think it’s a strategic decision,” he added. Until now, Uruguay had a consulate in Istanbul.
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A market analysis report sent by the Consulate General of Uruguay in Istanbul identified potential development and strengthening trade in various products such as cellulose, soybeans, rice, lard, animal feed, worsted wool, medicines, veterinary vaccines, wood, wheat and barley.
In 2022, it is planned to hold the first meeting of the Mixed Economic Commission between Uruguay and Turkey, pending since 2009 after the signing of the Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation Agreement. Also, at the end of this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will visit Uruguay, Cayrus said.
Exports and market
In 2021, Turkey was the tenth destination for Uruguayan exports, with $200 million. During the previous year, the investments of cellulose, which amounted to 74 million dollars and accounted for 36% of total exports, even exceeding US$63 million for live cattle. The highest number of Uruguayan exports to Turkey was reached in 2018 with 307 million US dollars.
“Uruguayan exports to Turkey have mainly been concentrated in exports of live cattle, which have been the main export product to this market in recent years”, said Ambassador Cayrus during his appearance before Parliament on April 6. “Work will be done to improve opportunities for access to Uruguayan products and services, as well as in terms of trade promotion in order to increase and diversify Uruguayan exports to the Turkish market,” he added.
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For its part, Uruguay imports from Turkey auto parts, iron or non-alloy steel profiles, clothing, footwear, electric water heaters, vehicle bodies, plastic materials, chemical substances, washing machines and agricultural electrical appliancesdetailed the ambassador.
The announcement of the opening of an embassy in Ankara has been made in August 2021 during a visit to Turkey by Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo. Since then, the minister and the president, Luis Lacalle Pou, have repeatedly affirmed Uruguay’s interest in moving forward in a possible FTA with Turkey.
The ruling senator Sebastien da Silva, specializing in agricultural issues, underlined the relevance of exports of live cattle. “For Uruguay, it is one of the countries that determines the livestock market transparency. The fact that Turkey is the main export destination for live cattle it prevents producers from being taken hostage by possible oligopolies of the refrigeration industry in service. That’s why we celebrate that today we have an embassy,” the National Party legislator affirmed.
According to information from the General Directorate of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Uruguay XXI, At the moment, there are no Turkish investments in Uruguay or Uruguayans in Turkey, Cayrus said.
Uruguay and Turkey signed in 2021 an agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters. In addition, in 2013 they sealed an Air Services Agreement, and in 2009 a Friendship and Cooperation Agreement. They also have since 1996 one for the abolition of visas in common passports.
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