At the January 1 inauguration of Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, not one but three presidents from Uruguay were in attendance: the current leader, Luis Lacalle Pou, as well as former presidents José "Pepe" Mujica and Julio María Sanguinetti, historic rivals in Uruguayan politics, one from the left, one from the centre-right. At a time of polarisation and social unrest throughout Latin America, this show of unity highlighted Uruguay's stability.
The country has Latin America's highest per-capita income, its lowest poverty rate, and among its lowest levels of inequality. Uruguay's energy matrix is the region's greenest – it is a world leader in renewable energies - and its economy is forecast to grow a healthy 3.6% in 2023, more than double the Latin American average. International studies frequently portray Uruguay as the region's least corrupt country; the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked it the 13th strongest democracy in the world, ahead of the United Kingdom, Spain, and the United States, and well ahead of regional peers like Brazil, Colombia or Mexico.
Trade is the lifeblood of Uruguay's economy. Positioned between South America's two largest countries, Montevideo has relied on an outward-facing strategy to compensate for its small internal market, first through the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), which includes Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and looking to the future, applying for membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
2023 represents 75 years of diplomatic relations between Uruguay and Australia. What opportunities are there for further trade in areas such infrastructure, ag-tech and fin-tech? What can be done to enhance cooperation in energy transition, such as green hydrogen? How can people-to-people links be rebuilt post-covid?
In this next instalment of our Meet the Ambassador series, AIIA Victoria invites you to join Ambassador Pi to discuss the bilateral relationship and future opportunities.
AIIA Victoria gratefully acknowledges the Walter Mangold Trust Fund for their support of our young members.
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