In determining the feasibility of a real estate project, an evaluation of the relevant financial and statistical analyses is not enough. Due to the complex and extensive legislative scope that developers now face, they must also consider the legal factors that will affect a project's implementation and operation, including with regard to the authorised use of a property, environmental zoning and ownership requirements, as well as the rights of indigenous communities.
There has been much speculation around the implications of Brexit and the possible termination of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). One of the clear benefits of both NAFTA and the free trade agreement entered into between Mexico and the European Union was the exemption of NAFTA and EU insurers from the foreign investment restriction. However, as this restriction was eliminated in 2014, affiliates of insurers located in NAFTA and EU member states will not be substantially affected.
The funds of some participants of the Interbank Electronic Payments System (SPEI) were recently affected by a series of unprecedented cyberattacks. The Mexican Central Bank revealed that approximately $15 million (Ps300 million) had been involved in diverse irregular transfers, subject to investigation. The cybercriminals had identified a flaw in the system that permitted receivers of SPEI transfers to withdraw cash almost immediately after receiving the transfer so that the money could not be traced.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative recently issued its Special 301 Report. Section I.A.1 of the report, which concerns pharmaceutical and medical device innovation and market access, calls on Mexico to address pharmaceutical and medical device IP-related challenges, lists the steps that it should take in order to open its markets to IP-intensive pharmaceutical products and medical devices and encourages it to recognise the value of innovation in these fields.
After two years of litigation, the First Collegiate Tribunal on Administrative Matters Specialised in Economic Competition, Broadcasting and Telecommunications has finally issued a final ruling acknowledging that the Federal Economic Competition Commission breached the attorney-client privilege principle during a dawn raid. The tribunal's ruling is relevant, as it demonstrates the possible outcomes of a violation of attorney-client privilege by the antitrust authorities.
Although it is common for the parties involved in mergers, acquisitions, asset sales, spin-offs or similar activities in the pharmaceutical, medical device and other health-related industries to treat marketing authorisations as assets which are subject to the general negotiation process, this approach is controversial. If incorrect, an allocation of a monetary value to or a transfer of a marketing authorisation could be considered an invalid act between the relevant individuals or legal entities.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources recently published a decree granting administrative benefits for the issuance of new concession titles for exploiting national waters to persons that hold a title which expired after January 1 2004. Notably, the decree allows for the issuance of new concession titles even if the zone or specific aquifer from which the original concession title was authorised to extract water is now considered a restricted or banned zone or aquifer.
The Federal Institute of Telecommunications recently approved the final programme for the functional separation of Mexico's fixed incumbent companies as a consequence of the asymmetric regulation imposed on the América Movil Group (AMX). However, AMX has informed the Mexican Stock Exchange that it will challenge the approval of the programme and there has been some scepticism as to the results and practical consequences of the separation.
Mexico is the second largest market for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries in Latin America. Thus, as mergers and acquisitions, asset sales, spin-offs and similar activities in the pharmaceutical, medical device and other health-related industries are often global or at least multinational, they often affect companies that operate in Mexico. Although there have been many unfortunate situations where such activities have been delayed or cancelled, this can be avoided.
The president recently enacted the Financial Technology Institutions Law. The Senate had unanimously approved the bill on the law in December 2017 and sent it to Congress, which made no changes. The law seeks to build a regulatory framework that will encourage the development of innovative financial services, increase the level of competition and financial inclusion and place Mexico at the forefront of the industry.
New legal provisions regarding the use of marijuana for medical and industrial purposes were recently published in the Federal Official Gazette and have sparked great interest in the potential development of such products in Mexico. However, the proposed regulations could contravene other federal laws, regulations and standards which explicitly state that marijuana and its derivatives cannot be used as ingredients or raw materials for food, beverages, cosmetics and other products bound for human consumption.
The Federal Institute of Telecommunications recently announced the auction of the 2.5 GHz band. The auction's purpose is to assign the commercial use and exploitation of 120 MHz of the 2,500 to 2,690 MHz band for the provision of wireless services. Four companies and one consortium are interested in formally participating in the auction process, which is expected to be completed by November 2018.
The Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk recently published new guidelines for the authorisation of ad applications regarding prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies and homeopathic medicines. As the guidelines include several provisions that appear to be against the General Health Law and the Health Law Regulations on Advertisements, they may give rise to a number of interesting scenarios.
The National Insurance and Bonds Commission recently added two new articles to the Insurance and Bonding Sole Provisions which set out new surety insurance contract requirements. Contracts must now include, among other things, confirmation that the insurer is authorised to pay the indemnity for damages without prior notice or consent of the policyholder and that the indemnity may be paid as compensation or as a penalty for the damages suffered.
The National Waters Commission recently submitted to the Federal Regulatory Betterment Commission its draft revision of the Mexican official standard which establishes the maximum permissible levels of pollutants in wastewaters discharged into national waters or properties. The draft aims to modernise the standard by including additional terms and definitions, pollutants and parameters regarding wastewater discharges into federal waters, as well as new sampling and reporting frequency obligations.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC) recently issued its Annual Working Plan. In it, the FECC recognised that one of its strategic goals is to communicate to economic agents how anti-competitive practices will be investigated and which actions agents may adopt to prevent potential risks. In particular, the FECC declared that one of its goals for 2017 would be to launch a project to develop guidelines for the analysis of collaboration agreements between competitors.
There were a number of court precedents in 2017 concerning financial transactions. For example, a recent non-binding collegiate court precedent broadened the scope and source of information that judges should use to analyse and determine the existence of usury, while another validated judges' authority to use the annual interest rate published by companies that engage in vehicle financing. Further, a binding Supreme Court precedent dealt with the maturity date of promissory notes.
In order to prevent the misuse of customer information, the National Insurance and Bonds Commission recently amended the Insurance and Bonding Sole Provisions with regard to information gathered electronically. Among other things, the amendments require insurers to implement security measures and mechanisms for the transfer, storage and processing of information generated electronically when contracting insurance and bonds and rendering other services to customers.
Corn tortillas are a fundamental source of nutrition for Mexican families, and artificial price increases have a significant effect on the consumer economy. Given the importance of the corn tortilla market, it has come under the scrutiny of several authorities – for example, the Federal Economic Competition Commission, which recently fined three individuals a total of Ps394,508 for the commission of an absolute monopolistic practice in the market for the production, distribution and marketing of corn tortillas.
The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit recently circulated a substantially amended draft of the Financial Technology Bill, which has been renamed the Financial Technology Institutions (FTIs) Law. The law aims to regulate the financial services provided by FTIs – including those which are bound to specific regulations and offered or rendered through innovative means – as well as the organisation of such institutions and their operations.