Uruguay has a nominally progressive government that came to power on the strength of its critique of neoliberalism. However, one segment of the current Frente Amplio administration has leaned in favour of seeking FTA-type economic agreements. There is ongoing discord within the government around the possible signing of an FTA with the US.
Uruguay is a member of Mercosur, which prohibits member countries from signing bilateral FTAs, and the Uruguayan government’s stance has caused significant tensions within Mercosur, at times bringing it to the verge of dissolution.
Intense debate has taken place within the government itself. So far, the faction opposed to FTAs has won out.
Nevertheless, Uruguay signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) with the US in January 2007. Many observers saw this as a first step towards the signing of an FTA.
Since José "Pepe" Mujica (also with Frente Amplio) took the presidency in March 2010, a new period in Uruguay’s foreign policy began and the country no longer discusses an FTA with the US.
last update: May 2012
Photo: Victor Barro