The Mexican courts have issued several precedents to eradicate the existence of usury, allowing judges to discretionally reduce interest rates agreed by the parties. However, some of these precedents contradict each other as to whether the usury prohibition applies to default interest. As such, the First Chamber of the Supreme Court recently issued a decision to clarify these inconsistencies.
Digital collection (CoDi) is the latest electronic payment method developed by the Mexican Central Bank, designed to reduce the use of cash and promote competition, while incorporating larger sections of the population into the formal financial sector. It seems that Mexico is moving forward in financial technologies, such as CoDi, and using these developments to promote larger inclusion, competition and transparency for every sector in the country.
Under Mexican commercial regulations, contracting parties have traditionally been free to determine in their corresponding agreement the jurisdiction in which disputes must be resolved. However, a new binding precedent from the Supreme Court challenges this traditional approach with regard to banking adhesion contracts and is a good example of how Mexico is advancing its consumer protection regulations.
In March 2018 the Fintech Law, which aims to mitigate the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing, was published in the Federal Official Gazette. Subsequently, in January 2019 the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement published draft amendments to the anti-money laundering rules which apply to the traditional banking industry in order to incorporate the new concepts created by the Fintech Law.
The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit recently published a resolution in the Official Gazette modifying the general regulations that apply to banks. The resolution responds to the need to strengthen the regulatory framework applicable to banks, particularly with regard to cybersecurity and technological infrastructure. It also aims to guarantee the confidentiality, integrity and availability of customer information.
In Mexico, some public institutions consolidate the procurement requirements of their entities into one public tender to save costs and increase efficiency. As such, joint propositions among competitors may be the solution for companies that wish to participate in such processes where they involve substantial volumes of goods. However, there are no official guidelines or criteria on how joint propositions between competitors should be negotiated or implemented so that they do not pose a risk to competition.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) recently issued a press release announcing that it had rejected Walmart's proposal to acquire Cornershop in light of the potential risks that it posed to competition and free market access. This case is significant as it is the first merger review case in which the COFECE has analysed vertical concentrations involving digital platforms.
All violations of attorney-client privilege are illegal, but the specific consequences will depend on the nature of the privileged information and the violation's potential effect on the plaintiff's defence strategy. In certain circumstances, a violation of attorney-client privilege can lead to a prohibition on prosecution due to procedural corruption. This article provides a number of practical tips for dealing with a violation of attorney-client privilege by the competition authorities.
In January 2019 the new government implemented several measures to counter and reduce gasoline and diesel theft, which generated fuel shortages in some of Mexico's main cities. To address these issues, the Federal Economic Competition Commission recently issued a follow-up to its 2016 recommendations which aimed to foster competition in the gasoline and diesel markets in order to address the new administration's concerns.
In 2017 the Federal Economic Competition Commission initiated an investigation into an unlawful concentration between Marzam – a major pharmaceutical product distributor in Mexico – and its main competitor, which had come to light following the release of the Panama Papers. However, before the investigation concluded, Moench Coöperatif (which had acquired control over Marzam) and one of its shareholders proposed a series of commitments in order to restore free competition in the pharmaceutical market.
The Energy Regulatory Commission has received clearance from the Federal Commission for Regulatory Improvement to publish the general administrative provisions (GAPs) that set out the Guidelines for the Statistic Registry of Commercial Transactions Arising from Regulated Activities Performed with Natural Gas and Oil. The GAPs establish the natural gas and oil registry system and provide new reporting obligations for permit holders.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) recently issued a resolution which has clarified the scope of the general administrative provisions on metering that apply to holders of permits to store petroleum, petroleum products and petrochemicals. In issuing the resolution, the CRE has further relieved applicable permit holders from their obligations to comply with specific requirements.
The 2013 energy reform ordered the legal separation of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) in order to guarantee equal competition for all industry players. Accordingly, in 2016 the Ministry of Energy issued the CFE separation rules to foster open access, efficient operation and competition within the industry. As these rules resulted in several inefficiencies within CFE generation companies, the ministry recently relaxed them in order to maximise resources and reduce power prices for end users.
The Energy Regulatory Commission recently confirmed that certain business models used by retailers of refined products (eg, diesel and gasoline) are valid and stimulate competition in the market to the benefit of customers. As such, retailers can develop loyalty programmes based on bonuses, credits, subscriptions, memberships or exclusive offers, among other things, to be offered by various petrol stations. However, these programmes must be made available to all customers and cannot be discriminatory.
In his inaugural address, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed that fracking will be prohibited in Mexico. As Mexico is highly dependent on the natural gas potential of basins located in the northern part of the country, this prohibition will deny it access to resources which it needs to achieve energy sufficiency. Thus, both the executive and legislative branches should instead consider appropriate regulation (rather than a simple ban) that allows for the rational use of oil and gas resources.
The production of single-use plastics has increased exponentially in recent decades and in Mexico the volume of single-use plastic waste now exceeds the country's recycling capabilities. In response to growing concern over the effects that plastic waste may have on the environment, a series of legislative changes have recently been implemented. Companies should keep track of any waste-related initiatives introduced at the state and federal levels and prepare for upcoming changes to their obligations.
The National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector recently published NOM-001-ASEA-2019 (NOM-001) in the Federal Official Gazette. NOM-001's main aims are to establish criteria to classify the special types of waste produced in the hydrocarbons sector and establish which of these must be subject to a management plan, as well as determine the contents of special management and hazardous waste management plans.
In view of recent policy changes relating to hydrocarbons and gasoline distribution via pipelines, liability for the remediation of soil and water contamination derived from hydrocarbon spills and leaks at storage terminals and pipelines has become a hot topic. These policy changes have largely been aimed at tackling criminal activities that have contributed to soil and water contamination, such as fuel and hydrocarbon theft.
President Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has already published his environmental agenda, which sets out the objectives to be met and the strategies to be implemented during his six-year term. Under the agenda, a number of regulatory changes regarding air emissions, environmental impact assessments and coastal and marine zones will be introduced. In addition, Mexico will keep working towards its goals under the Paris Agreement and its administrative offices will undergo significant changes.
In recent years, Mexico has seen the significant deterioration of its forest resources, making it one of the 10 worst countries in terms of deforestation. To combat this issue, the New General Law for Sustainable Forest Development was recently published in the Federal Official Gazette. The law is an attempt to focus Mexico's forestry regulation on better management of resources, while also safeguarding human rights and social involvement.
Technology is developing rapidly and it generally takes the legislature years to catch up. This is particularly true in the healthcare industry, where regulations are struggling to keep up with the development of health-related technology. This situation has put Mexico in a difficult position. On the one hand, health-related technology is widely available to the general population. However, Mexico also faces numerous challenges, as it cannot quickly and efficiently regulate the use of emerging technologies.
It is a basic constitutional principle that no activity or product can be restricted or limited unless a legal provision establishes such restriction or limitation. This principle has resulted in a number of legal gaps regarding products and activities of a technical nature, as Mexican law is rarely as dynamic as technology and innovation. One of the most visible technological advances has been in the software and app arena, particularly with regard to healthcare. This has led to a challenging situation for the health authorities.
The Ministry of Health recently announced that the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk guidelines regarding industrial products with a tetrahydrocannabinol content of less than 1% have been suspended. In addition, all permits granted under the suspended guidelines will be reviewed and new draft regulations will be prepared in coordination with the Ministry of the Interior.
Numerous laws and regulations govern the import and marketing of medicines and medical devices. In addition to purely regulatory and health-related requirements, a number of provisions which govern import procedures and products in general must be observed. Most importantly, parties which intend to market a medicine or medical device in Mexico (whether imported or manufactured domestically) must obtain the corresponding marketing authorisation from the health authorities.
Traditional medicine is still a primary health resource for millions of people who do not have access to so-called 'modern medicine'. However, traditional medicine and knowledge are not covered by the general legal provisions which govern human health or specifically recognised by the Mexican health authorities. In some cases, traditional medicine has even been deemed illegal and attempts have been made to outlaw its practice and promotion.