Montevideo — Uruguay’s Minister of Industry Omar Paganini met this week in the United States with executives from Netflix and Amazon in a move to promote the development of the South American country’s audiovisual industry, and will also meet with representatives of the Hollywood movie industry in Los Angeles.
“The government’s objective is to continue promoting the development of the sector,” Paganini said, according to a statement from the country’s presidency, while he posted on Twitter that the meetings with representatives of Netflix and Amazon are aimed at deepening those companies’ investments to produce content in Uruguay.
Uruguay’s audiovisual sector exports totaled $84 million in 2021, up from $28 million the previous year, according to data from the country’s foreign trade promotion agency Uruguay XXI, with 148 weeks of filming carried out for exports last year, up from 40 weeks of filming in 2020 and 24 weeks in 2019.
Of the total 2021 exports, the main destination was the United States, followed by Argentina, Mexico and Spain, according to data provided to Bloomberg Línea by Inés Bonicelli, Uruguay XXI’s deputy executive director.
In addition to Netflix and Amazon, among the platforms to which Uruguay has sold audiovisual services are HBO, Sony, Star+ and Disney.
Among the shows sold were Netflix’s ‘Conquest’, Amazon Studios’ ‘Criminal’ and HBO’s ‘Amsterdam’.
The government seeks to consolidate the Uruguay Audiovisual Program (PUA), which provides tax rebates to production companies as an incentive, and which disbursed $12 million in 2021, a three-fold increase on the amount of funds distributed when the program launched.
Other incentives offered to audiovisual production companies by the Uruguayan government include removal of restrictions for the repatriation of profits, as well as short distances allowing the agile transfer between locations to optimize filming times, and the development of a mobile connection network.
In 2017, Uruguay passed a law to create so-called thematic free-trade zones, areas in which film and TV production would be the beneficiary of incentives and exempt from tariffs, the first of which, authorized in late 2019, was a project for the audiovisual industry near Punta del Este.
Translated from the Spanish by Adam Critchley