In 2018 the New General Law for Sustainable Forest Development entered into force, introducing new legal definitions with regard to the forestry regulatory framework. In April 2020 a seemingly small yet quite relevant amendment to the law was published in the Federal Official Gazette, making various adjustments to the legal definitions set out in Article 7 of the law.
Given the current situation brought about by COVID-19 and the subsequent suspension of private and governmental activities, the National Waters Commission (CONAGUA) has been reconsidering its online procedures system, which was initially published in the Federal Official Gazette on 1 October 2018 but was not implemented until late 2019. CONAGUA's ultimate goal in this respect is the complete substitution of traditional in-person-initiated procedures with their digital counterparts.
Extraordinary measures are being taken by companies and governmental authorities to avoid aggravating the current situation and adapt quickly to the new operational and regulatory challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, economic competition law is still in force. This article discusses a series of considerations that companies should keep in mind to prevent potential competition risks relating to their behaviour or practices during the pandemic.
As a result of the negotiations of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the amendment to the Constitution on 1 May 2019, a decree amending, supplementing and derogating from several provisions of the Federal Labour Law on labour justice, freedom of association and collective bargaining was published in the Federal Official Gazette. This article highlights changes that employers should expect to come into force in 2020.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Ecology and Climate Chance Institute are continuing to help Mexico achieve its climate-change-related air emissions goals through data analysis, policy management and the implementation of the emissions trading system pilot programme. As such, now is an ideal time for actors in industry and service sectors to evaluate their air emissions obligations. Further, additional obligations may apply to certain facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission's (COFECE's) board of commissioners recently fined two polyethylene glove providers for price fixing and bid rigging in the health sector. According to COFECE's resolution, the lack of competition in the bids for polyethylene gloves prevented lower acquisition prices, which affected the Mexican budget by approximately Ps42.28 million (approximately $1.7 million).
Conscious of the challenges that the implementation of a new regulation on cannabis represents, the Senate has concluded that any regulation should be implemented gradually. To this end, a new bill under analysis foresees authorisations (ie, licences) for the personal use, growth, transformation, import and export of cannabis that are mutually exclusive. The bill also authorises scientific (ie, medical) and industrial uses; however, cosmetics and edible and drinkable products which contain cannabis are not authorised.
Over the past three decades, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has increased in popularity to the point that most parties appear to prefer it to having the courts resolve their conflicts. The benefits of ADR are flexibility, reduced costs and the opportunity to actively participate in the resolution of the dispute. However, these benefits depend on the parties voluntarily honouring the commitments adopted during the ADR proceedings.
The Industrial Property Law is currently under revision in the Senate. Two legal initiatives proposed by different senators will have to be studied, but one of them is more likely to prevail because it has the support of the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property and aims to substitute the current law in its entirety. One of the proposal's most significant objectives relates to updating the eligibility criteria of biotechnology-related inventions.
Cyberattacks on public entities and private companies in Mexico look set to grow exponentially in 2020. However, Mexico has no national cybersecurity, so the private sector has instead introduced self-regulatory schemes to try and protect itself against cyberattacks. This video examines the main cybersecurity issues that businesses in Mexico face today, including the recent growth of 'cryptojacking'.
In October 2019 the General Circular Economy Law initiative was presented to the Senate for discussion and approval. The initiative was prepared in response to Mexico's increasing waste generation and aims to coordinate the attempts of the municipal, state and federal authorities to address this problem. As such, the initiative proposes granting several new powers to each level of government in order to foster the creation of a circular economy in Mexico.
In December 2019 the Federal Telecommunications Institute issued draft rules for public consultation to further regulate net neutrality in Mexico. Further discussions are anticipated following the consultation period and the definitive rules are expected to be published in mid-2020. Nonetheless, the publication of draft rules to regulate net neutrality is a positive step which has long been awaited by both industry players and non-governmental organisations.
Precautionary measures are an essential way in which to preserve assets that are subject to dispute or ensure that a final award is enforceable. Arbitration offers many advantages over judicial proceedings. However, in practice, such measures need to be issued more quickly in order to achieve the objectives for which they are designed. Notably, under Mexican law, such measures are issued much faster and more effectively than those issued under the International Chamber of Commerce arbitration rules.
The preliminary bases for Mexico's emissions trading system (ETS) pilot programme were recently published in the Federal Official Gazette. The ETS is one strategy adopted by Mexico to meet its goals under the Paris Agreement. The pilot programme will determine whether the ETS is a viable scheme for reducing Mexico's greenhouse gas emissions. Companies should follow the results closely, as these will be paramount in determining the characteristics of the operational phase.
The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) has exclusive jurisdiction over cases, procurement and advocacy in competition matters relating to the broadcasting and telecoms sectors, while the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) has jurisdiction in competition matters regarding all other sectors. While this allocation of jurisdiction between the IFT and the COFECE may appear straightforward, in reality, there is no clear-cut division of powers with regard to digital markets.
A new state-owned company has been established to provide free internet services to all citizens in Mexico. The company aims to provide telecoms services without charge and guarantee the right of access to information technologies and communication (including internet and broadband), particularly to people without access to such services in Mexico.
The regulation of and risks associated with vaping are among the most debated topics among health authorities and industry players worldwide. Mexico is no exception in this regard, as its developing vaping industry is subject to considerable scrutiny and the health authorities are taking a prohibitionist stance; however, this approach is not new.
In order to recover damages following a violation of their rights, industrial property owners must first file an administrative infringement action before the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property in order to obtain a declaration of infringement and then undergo a civil court trial. This process can take up to five years and rights holders often choose not to claim compensation. As such, a recent proposal aims to reform the process for recovering damages caused by a violation of industrial property rights.
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.
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.