South America freezone comparisons in 2024

Summary at a Glance Brazil Chile Argentina Uruguay
Free zone name Manaus Free Zone Iquique Free Zone La Plata Free Zone Colonia Free Zone
Corporate tax payable 34% 0% 35% 0%
Average monthly salary skilled labour (US$) US$1,600 US$2,700 US$5,100 US$2,500
Average monthly salary unskilled labour (US$) US$567 US$1,000 US$600 US$800
Office rental square meter per month (US$) US$55 US$30 US$33 US$20
Total company set up costs US$24,259 US$16,235 US$19,240 US$18,055
Subsequent annual costs (excl accounting and tax fee) US$2,179 US$1,210 US$5,300 US$2,200
How long to set the company up? 12 weeks 3 weeks 5 weeks 4 weeks
How long to open company bank account? 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks
Issued share capital required US$1 US$1 US$1 US$1
Corporate bank account SCB Brazil Banco Edwards Citi ABN Amro Argentina SCB Uruguay
Tenancy agreement required before incorporation? No No Yes No
Do you visit the country for company incorporation? No No No No
Resident director required? No Yes Yes No
Resident agent required Yes No No Yes
Legal considerations
Resident shareholder required? No No No No
Minimum number of directors 1 1 2 1
Minimum number of shareholders 2 2 2 2
Resident company secretary No No Yes No
Individual shareholders allowed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Corporate shareholders allowed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Corporate director(s) allowed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Public register of shareholders and directors Yes Yes Yes No
All business permitted for foreigners No Yes, except fishing and mining Yes Yes
Tax and accounting considerations
Corporate tax payable 25% 0% 0% 0%
Statutory audit required No No Yes No
Annual tax return to be submitted Yes Yes Yes Yes
Access to how many double tax treaties 29 28 15 10
Withholding tax payable 8% – 28% 0% 0% 0%
How long to get work permit approved 4 weeks 4 weeks 4 weeks 4 weeks
Can the entity hire expatriate staff in the country? Yes Yes Yes Only 25% foreign workforce allowed
Logistic considerations
Allowed to invoice/sign sales contracts with local clients Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can rent office premises in the country Yes Yes Yes Yes
Allowed to import raw materials? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Allowed to export goods? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Employment visa fees (US$) US$3,950 US$3,950 US$3,950 US$3,950
What % of population speak English 5% 10% 6% 6%
Literacy rate (%) 90% 96% 98% 98%
Computer literacy rate (%) 46% 40% 66% 57%
Country credit rating A- AA+ CCC+ BBB-
Internet connectivity rating 89% 45% 78% 58%
Global business efficiency index score (higher better) 50% 72% 38% 31%
Ease of doing business global ranking (lower better) 130 37 124 89
GDP per capita (US$) US$11,340 US$15,363 US$11,558 US$14,449
Population (in million) 195m 17m 41m 3m
Unemployment rate 6% 6% 7% 6%
Inflation rate (2013) 6.1% 2.2% 9.8% 8.1%
GDP 2012 US$2.3 trillion US$268 billion US$474 billion US$49 billion
Real GDP Growth rate (2012) 3% 5% 2.6% 3.5%
Estimate of engagement costs
Healy Consultants engagement fees US$11,400 US$7,200 US$13,550 US$8,850
Company secretary and legal registered office fees US$950 US$1,100 US$0 US$950
Estimate of Government registration fees US$480 US$230 US$940 US$1,545
Corporate bank account opening US$2,550 US$2,950 US$2,950 US$2,950
Estimate of total outgoings in Year 1 US$24,259 US$16,235 US$19,240 US$18,055
Draft sales invoice attached View invoice PDF View invoice PDF View invoice PDF View invoice PDF

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For additional information on our America company incorporation services, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Kunal Fabiani, directly:
client relationship officer - Kunal