Free Zones Law Nº 15.921

Law Nº 15.921


The Senate and House of Representatives of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, in General Assembly



General Provisions

Article 1. declared of national interest the promotion and development of free zones, with the objectives of promoting investment, expanding exports, increase the use of local labor and encourage international economic integration.

Article 2: Free zones are areas of the country public or private property, fenced and isolated efficiently, which will be determined by the Executive on the advice of the Honorary Advisory Committee of Free Zones, in order to develop in them with tax exemptions and other benefits detailed in this law, all types of industrial, commercial or service activities including:


Marketing, warehousing, storage, packaging, sorting, classifying, splitting, assembling, dismantling, handling or mixture of foreign goods or raw materials or national origin.


Installation and operation of factories.


Financial services, computer repairs and maintenance, and other professionals that are required for the proper functioning of the installed activities and the sale of such services to third countries.


Other deemed by the Executive Branch RESULTING beneficial to the national economy or the economic and social integration of the States.

The Executive Branch shall act to the effect that these activities do not impair the ability of exporting industries not already installed measures franca areas.

Article 3: declared of public utility property expropriation of private property for the establishment of free zones and its approaches.

Authorize the Executive to swap property of the fiscal domain of the State for property owned by the municipality or other public persons that are appropriate for the setting and access free zones or expanding existing ones.

Article 4: Only will dwell within EPZs people assigned to the supervision and maintenance of the necessary services to the activities developed and the officials determined in turn by the Executive.

Management, Control and Operation of Free Zones

Article 5: The administration, supervision and control of the free zones will be in charge of the Ministry of Finance through the Free Trade Zones to which the right may be granted devolution to the better performance of its functions.

Article 6. Believe an Honorary Advisory Commission of Free Zones consist of five members appointed as follows:


One by the Executive, who shall preside.


The remaining four will be elected by the members of the Board of the National Development Corporation representing the State, which, for these purposes, will constitute electing body and your decision should be taken with a minimum of four votes in favor. In conjunction with the appointment of these, equal number of alternates shall be appointed by the same procedures.

Article 7: The Honorary Advisory Committee shall be convened by the Ministry of Finance or the President and shall have the sole task of advising on the identification of areas of the country where the free zones shall state or private exploitation installed. The initiative rests solely with the Executive Branch, to whom applications, must mandatorily submit for consideration of such Committee deemed appropriate applications will be presented.

The Commission should rightly issued the peremptory period of thirty calendar days from the time the executive branch put the request for consideration. It shall be accompanied by the reasoned opinion of the Directorate of Free Zones.

The advice of the Commission shall have a minimum of four votes in favor. Failing that, if ignored, or if pronouncement contrary to the opinion of the Executive, the background should be submitted for consideration by the General Assembly or the Standing Committee where appropriate, which have a period of thirty days to be issued. After this deadline without comment, the Executive may authorize the request.

Article 8: Each defined as a free zone area can be exploited by the government or by duly authorized individuals.

For these purposes be understood to mean the farm operation whereby in exchange for an agreed price for each user, a natural or legal person providing the necessary and sufficient for the installation and operation of a free zone infrastructure.

Article 9: Private companies authorized to operate a free zone shall not be covered by the exemptions and benefits that the law grants users. Notwithstanding they can get if the statement correspondiere- Decree Law 14,178, of March 28, 1974, (Industrial Promotion) concerns.

Article 10 The application for leave to exploitation by private free zone shall be submitted to the Executive, accompanied by an investment project which adequately demonstrate the economic viability of the project and the benefits accruing to the country.

The authorization will be costly, either by paying the state a lump sum or by paying a periodic fee as agreed, subject to the provisions of Article 30 of this law.

Article 11 The companies that refers to Article 9 should make their exploitation in the terms specified in their authorization and their violation or non-compliance may be subject to a fine, which will graduate in accordance with the gravity of the infringement of up to N $ 50: 000,000 (fifty million new pesos) to be reset by the Index of Consumer Prices established by the Department of Statistics and Census, notwithstanding the withdrawal of approval when appropriate according the nature of the violation.

Article 12 In case of revocation of authorization or other situations in severity as determined by the Executive Branch may have through the Free Trade Zones adopting necessary for the purposes of maintenance and provision of essential infrastructure measures the proper functioning of the free zone.

Resolutions adopted for this purpose shall not have suspensory effect.

Article 13 In the owners of the land on which private free zones should be installed in them an easement which will aim the involvement or properties that destination. Said easement shall be constituted for a period equal to that established in the operating permit of the free zone and awarded by the owner or owners of the lands, appearing on behalf of the State, the Director of Free Zones.

The easement will be maintained by the deadline even if the authorization is revoked.

Ratings Free Zones

Article 14 users free zones are all natural or legal persons who acquire the right to develop in them any of the activities referred to in Article 2 is concerned. The companies located in FTZs may not develop industrial, commercial and service activities outside them.

Article 15 is that direct user who acquires the right to operate in a free zone by contract who operates the same whether the particular state or duly authorized. In all circumstances, for this purpose, the State may contract directly through the Free Trade Zones and provide the user warranty.

It is indirect user who acquires the right to operate in a free zone by direct contract with the user using or taking advantage of its facilities.

Contracts for which the user is acquired quality must be registered in the Free Trade Zones and once registered effective against third parties.

Article 16 The contracts signed with those who exploit zones direct users, or those who subscribe direct to indirect users and governing rights to use the free zone shall be considered absent if not previously approved by management Free Zones.

Article 17: The founders of corporations whose sole purpose of performing operations as users of the free zone may register directly with the Public Registry of Commerce and General articles of incorporation and the bylaws, accompanying the request of the registration certificate issued by the General Inspectorate of Finance who subscribed at least 50% (fifty percent) of the capital for three or more natural or legal persons and which has been integrated in money or property subject to pecuniary estimation least 60% (sixty percent) of the subscribed share capital. Once registration and once published in the “Official Gazette” an extract of such instruments, the company shall be considered legally constituted and may apply directly to the Director General of the Public Registry of Commerce, and is registered with the Registration of Merchant. The Bank of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay will release the deposit had been made for integration into money, justifying enrollment status in the Public Registry of Commerce and General. Likewise shall proceed in the event that it desist from the establishment of the company. Shall not apply in respect of those companies requiring integration of a new 20% (twenty percent) of the subscribed shares, under the second paragraph of Article 405 of the Commercial Code, as amended by Article 208 of Law 13,318 of December 28, 1964.

Article 18 users free zones used in the activities developed in the same, at least 75% (seventy five percent) of staff consisting of Uruguayans, natural or legal citizens, in order to maintain quality and such tax exemptions, franchises, benefits and rights that this law does give.

In exceptional cases, this percentage may be reduced with prior approval of the Executive, on account of special characteristics of the activity to develop and reasons of general interest.

Exemptions and benefits

Article 19 Users of the free zones are exempt from all national taxes, or to be created, including those in which by law a specific exemption in respect of activities carried on in the same required.

Article 20 shall not be included in the preceding tax breaks special social security contributions and legal pecuniary benefits provided to persons of non-state public right to social security.

When the foreign personnel working in the free zone express in writing their desire not to benefit from the social security system in force in the Republic, there is no obligation to make corresponding contributions.

It also will not be exempt from Income Tax of Industry and Trade dividends or credited earnings or paid to resident individuals or legal entities abroad, when they are taxed in the country of domicile of the registrant and there tax credit on the same by tax paid in the Republic (paragraph d) of Article 2 of Title 4 of the Revised Text 1987).

Article 21 Goods, services, goods and raw materials, whatever their origin, introduced to the free zones are exempt from all taxes and any other instrument of equivalent effect on the import or application on the same occasion, even those where specific exemption by law regardless of their nature is required.

The goods, services, goods and raw materials from non-free national territory and are brought to the free zones, which will be in accordance with all applicable standards for export at the time.

Article 22 Goods, services, goods and raw materials introduced into the free zones and products made therefrom shall leave them at any time, exempt from all taxes, or any equivalent instrument, levies and surcharges created or to be created, including those specifically exempt by law regardless of their nature is required.

When they shall go free zones introduced from the non-free country, goods, services, goods and existing therein or made in the same raw materials imports are considered for all purposes.

Article 23 The National Port shall receive the amount of services actually rendered, for all the goods that have come from the destination or free zone, rates can not exceed the direct cost of the service.

For the purposes of the application of the rates for the National Ports Authority, the entry or exit of goods and their transportation from the free zones, international transit can be considered charged by the entry or exit only once.

Article 24 Public agencies that provide goods or services to users of the free zones may be established for these special promotional rates.

Monopolies of industrial and commercial services domain of the state shall not apply in the EPZs.

Article 25 The State, under the responsibility of damages, assures the user, during the term of his contract, tax exemptions, benefits and rights this law granted him.


Spaces and buildings in zones

Article 26 Buildings that perform direct user will be governed by the rules and technical conditions established by the Directorate of Free Zones.

They may only be used to fulfill the user’s activities.

Article 27 Cash benefits in national or foreign currency to be paid by users who exploit them, whether the state or private autorizados- may be indexed in accordance with what is established by the parties to the relevant contract; the same shall be paid by the user throughout the duration of their employment, even if it extends beyond the contractual term and its extensions.

Article 28 Non-payment of three consecutive benefits if the same regardless monthly, or one if it were for longer periods, will entitle the operator, whether the State or directly apply particularly to vacate the free zone user after demanding payment within three days by telegram.

The method of delivery of the provisions of Articles 1309 and following of the Code of Civil Procedure, without prejudice to the penalties that may apply Free Trade Zones will continue.

Article 29 The payment of the sums due will be processed via the executive judgment, prior intimation by telegram and no other exceptions may object that under Article 108 of Legislative Decree 14.701 of 12 September 1977 without prejudice to the penalties mentioned in the previous article.

Article 30: The Directorate of Free Zones may agree with the users or operators and individuals, compensation cash benefits provided with infrastructure and services provided by them, which foster the improvement and development of the areas free, but in no case may the user or the private operator invoked if no compensation has been agreed in writing.

Article 31 The place of cash benefits obtained by the Free Trade Areas of the users will be used to improve services, promotion and advertising and works for the development and improvement thereof.

Article 32 The direct user may, during the term of the contract or its extensions, assign it to a third party with the consent of the Directorate of Free Zones and its co-contracting particularly if exploitation. You can only sell the buildings and facilities made ​​or acquired the assignee of such contract or other users or the state.

These contracts will be considered absent if not previously approved by the Directorate of Free Zones.

Article 33 Completed the contract term or any extensions, direct or indirect user shall vacate the zone. If not on a delivery of the thing, the provisions of Articles 1309 and following of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be followed. The same procedure will be followed in all cases corresponding unemployment.

Article 34: The user can only make improvements and buildings with the written authorization who exploit the area.

The authorization shall be made ​​without the benefit of the operator, without user’s right to compensation or reimbursement, except one option to compel the retreat user cost without prejudice to any penalties that may apply. Will not apply in the EPZs provisions of Decree Law 14.219, of July 4, 1974, its amending and consistent.

Article 35 In the absence of agreement between the parties, buildings and improvements made by the user with whom operate the free zone, either the State or private, shall be paid by him to date value of unemployment.

The parties, including the State, may agree that all disputes which may arise between them in respect of improvements, are settled by arbitration solution.

Of goods in free zones

Article 36 The goods, commodities and raw materials of foreign origin to destination zones shall comply immediately with the destination upon arrival in the country. They can not stay in any shell, except those located within the customs area and during the maximum period that the regulation set to meet his introduction to the respective free zone.

Article 37 shall not be permitted within free trade zones retail.

The free zone users may issue “warrants” and certificates of deposit of goods, raw materials and products stored in areas that had been assigned to them.

Such certificates shall be transferable only once endorsed by the Directorate of Free Zones.

Article 38 shall be entirely free ingress and egress to the free zones of securities, domestic and foreign currency, precious metals, for any reason, the possession, sale, transfer or movement and conversation.

Article 39 The regulations established by the Executive Branch rules aimed at solving the case of goods, merchandise or commodities, abandoned by users in free zones or owners or consignees thereof, will be held on the premises sheds or users. It is understood that there are abandoned once within six months of the expiry of the last unfulfilled financial obligation expires.

To authorize the Executive to sell such goods, merchandise or commodities at public auction or directly prior appraisal. If the goods, merchandise or commodities were owned by a direct user, any proceeds shall be applied first to the payment of outstanding cash benefits paid to the state or the private operator; if they were owned by an indirect user, to the cancellation of their obligations to the respective direct user, originated in the contract that the second paragraph of Article 15 of this Law refers; if they be proprietary third cancellation of obligations to the user as a result of the respective contracts of deposit or consignment. The surplus, if any, shall be deposited in the Bank of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay to order the owners of goods sold as applicable. Creditors of any nature may enforce their rights on the deposited amount.

In the case of entering a place such goods, merchandise or raw materials, shall pay the taxes, levies or surcharges applicable at the time of importation. The taxable value shall be the result of the assessment or public auction, certified by the Executive.

No Article 40 shall apply to activities in free zones to develop the requirements, or which may be established for mandatory integration of national goods components that are developed there as well as any requirement that conditions or may condition the entry or exit of goods in a free zone, except those relating to control.

Article 41 The Ministry of Finance shall issue certificates of origin under the conditions and formalities laid down by the Executive, but may be made on such certificates discrimination as to the origin of the products manufactured in non Frankish territory.

The preferential treatment given to Uruguayan exports by other countries with regard to certain products and limited volumes or values​​, will be utilized in preference to exporting industries such products already installed in the non-free zone. The Government shall take the necessary measures to this end.

Sanctions and final provisions

Article 42 violations and breaches of this Act, its regulations and contractual provisions, will be sanctioned by the Executive.


A fine of up to N $ 50: 000.000.00 (Fifty million new pesos) to be rescaled by the Index of Consumer Prices established by the Department of Statistics and Census.


With ban on inflows and outflows of goods and / or performing any operation as a user for a specified time; and


With the loss of exemptions and other benefits that the law affords.

Article 43 The Government shall regulate this law and provide the necessary measures to ensure the effects of simplicity and simplification of all services and procedures relating to the export and import of goods in free zones, adopting those which, in accordance with this law grants benefits and essential checking, possible to achieve greater efficiency and speed of such operations.

Article 44 is hereby declared that the free zones of Colonia and Nueva Palmira, created by Law 7,593 of June 20, 1923, are covered by the provisions of this Act.

Article 45: Current users of the free zones of Colonia Nueva Palmira and are subject to the provisions of this law.

Those who engage in activities outside zones simultaneously have a period of one hundred eighty days from the effective date of this Act to comply with the provisions of Article 14.

Article 46 The executive branch shall ensure the preservation of the environment.

Article 47: Prohibits the introduction into free zones arms, gunpowder, ammunition and other materials for military purposes, as well as those declared contrary to the interests of the country by the Executive.

Article 48: Repeal the law decrees 14,498, of February 19, 1976 and 15,121, of April 10, 1981, and any other provision contrary to this law.

Article 49 Contact, etc. ..

Conference Room of the Senate, in Montevideo, on December 10, 1987.

Mario Farachio,


Montevideo, December 17, 1987.

Be fulfilled, Acknowledge, communicated, published and placed on the National Register of Acts and Decrees.