Negotiation Practices and Etiquette in Uruguay

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In order to conduct business successfully in Uruguay, Uruguay's negotiation etiquette and practices must be learned to create the best grounds for negotiations possible.

With the best-educated workforce in South America and a 96% literacy rate, Uruguay is a highly-educated nation with well-developed human capital. Most of the population is made up of the middle class, unlike the extremes of wealth and poverty present in other nations in South America. In addition, Uruguay's major industrial and business centers along with overseas locations are easily accessed through its strategic location, vast infrastructure network and natural conditions. Together with a stable political structure that supports foreign investment and a strong economy, all these factors make Uruguay an attractive place for global investors. However, for foreign investors to be successful, Uruguayan etiquette and negotiation practices need to be mastered.

1. Greetings are warm and come with a firm handshake to make each other feel welcomed.

2. Uruguayans tend to stand close to each other when conversing, both in the social and business setting.

3. Though business meetings may not always be on time, it is still critical for you to be punctual out of courtesy.

4. Business meetings are always very formal. Men should wear a conservative dark suit with a tie while women should wear a dark suit with dress or skirt. A professional appearance and attitude should always be maintained.

5. Business cards must be presented to all parties present at the meeting, both in English and in Spanish. It is customary to have the Spanish translation on the reverse side.

6. Prior to business negotiations and talks, it is customary to make small talk to ease any tension.

7. Though many Uruguayan executives will speak English, it will be useful to have an intepreter available.

7. When it comes to business with Uruguayans, friendship and kinship may play a greater role than you think. Don't bank on your experience and reputation when dealing with your partners. Make an effort to be their friend; it will pay off in the long run.

8. While gifts from the United States or your region would be appreciated, gifts do not play an important role in business negotiations with Uruguayans.

9. Business negotiations can be done during lunch but not during dinner. Dinner time is typically reserved for socializing, so do not plan to conduct business discussions over dinner with the exception of your host initiating the negotiations. It is also important to recognize that Uruguayans tend to dine between 9 to 10 PM when arranging dinner.