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Uruguay: New Law Bans Ownership of Agricultural Land by Companies Owned by Foreign Governments

(Dec. 12, 2014) The Government of Uruguay promulgated Law No. 19,283 on October 7, 2014 to ban the ownership of rural land or farms by businesses that are owned in whole or in part by foreign governments. (Tierras con Fines de Explotación Agropecuaria – Prohíbe la Compra y Tenencia a Empresas Extranjeras o a las Instaladas en el País en las que Participe Directa o Indirectamente un Estado Extranjero [Land Used for Agricultural Exploitation – Prohibition on the Acquisition and Holding by Foreign Public Entities or Domestic Companies Owned Directly or Indirectly by Foreign States] (Oct. 7, 2014), art. 2, Presidencia de la República Oriental del Uruguay.)

The only exception to the prohibition applies when the business production plan includes the use of innovative technologies for the region’s development, creates jobs, and contributes to an increase in production and productivity of the economic sector involved. In such cases, the Executive would be able to allow only a minority ownership in the business by foreign entities. (Id. art. 3.)

The Minister of Cattle, Agriculture, and Fishing stated that the Law is a forceful defense of national assets against the increasing number of foreign state landowners. (Ejecutivo Promulgó Ley que Prohíbe Compra de Tierra por Parte de Estados Extranjeros [The Executive Promulgated a Law that Prohibits the Acquisition of Land by Foreign States], Presidencia de la República Oriental del Uruguay (Oct. 2, 2014).)