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In 2011, the construction machinery market in Uruguay recorded a total of US$290 million of imports. Brazil represented the largest exporter of construction machinery to Uruguay with US$152 million worth of export sales. China was ranked the second largest exporter of construction equipment with a 13% market share of total export value, compared to Argentina with 12% and the United States with 10%.
Uruguay is forecast to report increases in infrastructure construction activity which is to drive demand for heavy equipment. The construction industry in Uruguay is centred mainly in the capital city Montevideo and resort of Punta del Este. The highest growth sector within the construction market is for building luxury apartments although the construction of high-end middle-clasee and lower-level buildings has also increased. The major construction-related projects planned in Uruguay are shopping malls, hotels and casinos, residential construction, port projects, new jails, a convention centre in Punta del Este, industrial, science and technology, business parts and a new pulp mill project in Punta Pereira (Colonia).
The main United States manufacturers operating in Uruguay are Caterpillar, Case, New Holland, John Deere and Ingersoll-Rand among others. Brazil still represents the largest supplier of construction equipment and machinery in Uruguay. A total of 55,000 people are employed in construction within Uruguay and this figure is expected to increase to 60,000 by 2012.
A significant level of imports enter Uruguay with regard to construction equipment. In 2011, the total value of imports for construction equipment totalled U$290 million representing an 18% growth since 2010, when imports were valued at US$245 million.
United States companies operating in Uruguay's construction equipment industry face strong competition from Brazil, China and Argentina. Most products manufactured in Brazil and Argentina enter Uruguay duty free under MERCOSUR rules. Pricing represents the main purchasing decision factor in Uruguay. United States manufactured construction equipment is regarded as high quality although more expensive and often the financing for these products are not as favourable as competitor options.
End-users of construction equipment include both public sector enterprises and private sector contractors. They are involved in private and public funded projects, such as infrastructure improvements as well as residential and non- residential developments. Among the top construction industry players are: Saceem, Stiler S.A, Norte Construcciones, Teyma Uruguay S.A, Campiglia Construcciones and CIEMSA. The main engineering companies operating in Uruguay is CSI Ingenieros.
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