World Cup | The Portuguese first arrived in Uruguay during the time of the Spanish colonial period from the late 15th century to the early 19th century. For some years, the present territory of Uruguay was part of the Portuguese Empire under the denomination of Cisplatine Province. They came as members of the military, conquistadors, clergy, and as sailors. After this period there were a couple of more waves of Portuguese immigration with the latest one during the 1930s to 1965.
Currently the populations of these counties are Portugal with 10.3 million inhabitants and Uruguay at 3.5 million people according to latest figures.
In modern times both counties are members of the United Nations and of the Organisation of Ibero-American States. Its purpose is to promote intergovernmental cooperation among its member nations which will aid the planning and development of regional projects in education, science, technology and the arts. Furthermore, both nations until 2012 were members of the Latin Union but due to financial problems, the organisation was shut down. Its aim was to protect, project, and promote the common cultural heritage of Latin peoples and unifying identities of the Latin, and Latin-influenced world.
Trade and Economics
Portugal is becoming a significant trading partner for Uruguay. So much so that in 2009 a Double Taxation agreement was signed. This agreement, which closely follows the OECD model Convention, is an important tool to be considered both by individuals and companies moving forward with their international tax planning strategies. Moreover, it is also important to note how trade relations between Uruguay and the EU are developing as Portugal being a member of the EU conducts trade operations through this institution with the rest of the world.
The relations between the EU and Uruguay are governed by the Framework Co-operation Agreement concluded in 1992.Since then the bilateral relations have intensified, including in economic terms (the EU is the biggest source of investment in Uruguay). The follow-up of this agreement entails regular meetings of the EU-Uruguay Joint Commission, including on trade matters. This Commission meets normally every 2 years, most recently in March 2017.
The EU and Uruguay in depth
As it stands, the EU is currently Uruguay’s third trading partner after China and Brazil capturing 15% of its total trade. EU-Uruguay total bilateral trade amounted to €3.06 billion in 2017.
EU exports to Uruguay are dominated by manufactured products such as chemicals (30%), machinery and mechanical appliances (21%), foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco (8%), transport equipment (6%), plastics (3%), optical and photography instruments (3%) and textiles (2%)
EU imports from Uruguay are dominated by crude materials and agricultural products: pulp of wood, paper and paperboard (43%), animal products (25%), vegetable products (8%), raw hides and skins (5%), wood (5%), textiles (4%), and foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco (3%)
Health and cannabis?
According to the latest figures, Uruguay dedicates 8.6% of their GDP on healthcare services, with Portugal’s figures standing at 9.5%. Interestingly enough Uruguay until recently was the only country to have legalised recreational cannabis in December 2013. Canada followed suit earlier this year. Portugal’s stance on Cannabis is not as progressive, however, they have taken important steps in the justice system in regards to the plant. In 2001, Portugal famously overhauled its drugs policy to allow for a system based on treatment rather than punitive penalties – making possession of personal quantities of all drugs, including cannabis, a non-criminal offence. Since then, Portuguese society has experienced major benefits, including a drop in “hard” drug use.