An Overview of the Mexican Legal Market for Foreign Firms

An Overview of the Mexican Legal Market for Foreign Firms

Photo credit: Law School by Tulane Public Relations

Investor attention is turning somewhat away from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) in recent months because their economies haven’t been growing as swiftly as they had been in years past.  The four countries that are attracting the attention of international investors are Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey, or MIST for short.

Mexico in particular is attracting a lot of attention from investors; it’s currently the second largest economy in Latin America and is poised to become the world’s seventh largest economy in the coming decades.   In fact, Mexico’s economy is predicted to become larger than that of the United Kingdom.    Part of the country’s economic growth is due to the country’s conglomerates looking at international capital markets, and part of the growth is due to public/private partnerships in the infrastructure sector.    Liberalization of Mexico’s oil sector could also fuel tremendous growth; reforms are currently being discussed inside the country’s government.

The country has one of the world’s most open economies.  With a dozen free trade agreements that cover 44 nations, investors from all over the globe are scrambling to set up shop in the Spanish-speaking country.  With a highly skilled and motivated workforce, the country has become the darling of international investment community.

The legal sector in Mexico is also very open to foreign firms.  Interestingly, foreign law firms don’t need to register with any of the country’s local bar associations, and are allowed to use their home name to open offices.    However, only Mexican-licensed lawyers are permitted to appear in court and advise on local law.  It must be stated here that foreign law firms are allowed to employ Mexican lawyers to advise on Mexican law, international law, and home country law.

Mexican lawyers are not required to members of Mexico’s six bar associations.

While the legal market is open and bar association membership is not necessary, this does not mean that Mexico’s legal sector is unsophisticated or underserved.  In fact, Mexico’s lawyers are among the most highly trained and educated in the world with skills that span the entire legal sector spectrum.  The legal market is very competitive and very sophisticated, with a massive number of Mexican lawyers holding law degrees from Ivy League Schools and memberships in United States bar associations.  International firms should not think of themselves as “swooping in” to fill a void in the legal market.

The opportunities for foreign law firms appear to exist in partnerships with local firms or with small- to medium-sized firms.  Large legal firms in Mexico are few and far between, with “large” in Mexico being a firm with around 70 lawyers.  Brazil, on the other hand, has a good number of firms that employ over 200 lawyers.  Mexican lawyers are strongly independent, something they do not want to sacrifice by joining large firms.

But it’s quite possible for there to be many opportunities for legal firms who want to establish “spin-off” or boutique legal practices.  Because of the sense of independence that Mexican lawyers have, this is one area where the legal market has been growing and the trend does not appear to be slowing down.  One of the reasons given for this boutique legal firm growth is that lawyers want to avoid the long wait with larger firms to become partners.

So you want to move to Mexico? Immigration Essentials

So you want to move to Mexico? Immigration Essentials

Photo credit: Goodbye Old Passport by IK’s World Trip

This slideshare explains the essential rules for immigration in Mexico, whether personal, family or corporate immigration. As always, this is for informative purposes and cannot be considered as substitute for a legal advice. Learn more.

All copyrights reserved. Learn more.

Download here: So you want to live in Mexico? Immigration Essentials (63)

Audi Could Double Mexico Production to 300,000 Units

Audi Could Double Mexico Production to 300,000 Units

Photo credit: Audi TTS by FotoSleuth

According to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, Audi is on the path to strengthening already strong sales in the North American market with the laying of the foundation stone of automaker’s new plant in San José Chiapa, Mexico.  [This is] an important future element of the global Audi production network,” he stated recently in an Audi press release.

The new $1.3 billion Audi AG plant, set to become operational in 2016, will create 3,800 new jobs in the state of Puebla, where the plant will be located.   This will be the first factory in the Americas for Audi, and the vehicles manufactured in the plant will be the automaker’s popular Q5 SUV.

While the plant at first was intended to manufacture 150,000 units, executives at Audi have stated publicly that the plant will be large enough for 300,000 units, and there could very well be production of a Q6 SUV along with the Q5 models.

The goal of Audi AG is to make North America one of their top three markets.  Said Stadler at another press conference: “In 2020 every seventh Audi from our worldwide production will go” to North America, Stadler said in a speech at the groundbreaking ceremony in Mexico over the weekend. “Then we have reached our goal and strengthened America as a third pillar of our sales in addition to Asia and Europe.”

He further remarked at the laying of the plant foundation ceremony in Puebla“With the production of one of our most successful models here in Mexico, we will give significant impetus to our global growth and supply the extremely popular Audi Q5 from here to the world market.  By setting up a new car plant in North America, we are establishing a presence on another continent that is very important to us. In this way, we are strengthening our international competitiveness and consistently pursuing the Audi growth strategy.”

The plant will contain a paint shop, body shop, assembly line, and press shop.  The 400-hectare facility will be the Audi’s most modern and technologically advanced, and Mexico presented many benefits to the automobile maker.  The Mexican workforce is highly educated and famed for their strong work ethic, and the country’s well-developed infrastructure along with its numerous international free-trade agreements made it the ideal place for Audi to set up shop.

Furthermore, Mexico offers the best tax and business environment for automakers.  “With Mexico, Audi has made the best choice to help it develop and secure its growth,” emphasised Mexico’s Economics Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal in the same ceremony celebrating the start of the plant’s construction.

Rafael Moreno Valle, Puebla’s governor, further stated: “Our country and the new Audi location in San José Chiapa in Puebla offer the best conditions for the successful development of the entire American market. We are proud that with Audi México, the first international premium manufacturer in the automotive industry is at home in our federal state.”

On a separate occasion, Stadler mentioned that no jobs at the Ingolstadt factory in Germany would be lost when production of the Q5 shifts to Mexico; the additional demand for production cannot be met at the existing German plants.

Mexican Telecom Reform has passed … What´s next?

Mexican Telecom Reform has passed … What´s next?

Photo credit: Cut down to size by Adrian Nier

Last April 30, Mexican Congress finally approved the Constitutional Reform on telecom (and anti-trust). Now it is time for the 31 State Congresses to review and approve. If any 16 Congresses approve the Reform, it will become a finished Reform. State of Mexico was first. Jalisco and Querétaro are on their way.

Then, what is next? The secondary regulation, meaning discussing/approving amendments to Telecom Law, Radio and TV Law, CATV Regulations, Satellite Regulations, Regulations to Telecom Law and many other. As has been discussed in the fora, making a uniform Telecom legislative body comprising and putting together all segments of the market. Yes, this is because every telecom service is convergent and data-driven, and yes, law is for regulating these trends.

Some of my next posts will address the hottest topics on secondary regulation. I will write on topics that media or specialists have not discussed enough or at all.

Can´t wait? Want to suggest something? Let me know … #TelecomReformMX

U.S. and Mexico Deeply Linked By Trade

U.S. and Mexico Deeply Linked By Trade

Photo credit: WTC Ciudad De Mexico by Armando Argandar

When North Americans and people from other parts of the world think of Mexico, one of the first things that they may think of, sadly, is the security situation in the country caused by drug traffickers and associated gangs.  However, smart investors and businessmen know that Mexico is quickly becoming an economic powerhouse due to the Spanish-speaking country’s free trade agreements with 44 countries, economic policy reform, and highly skilled, talented workforce.  The ties that bind Mexico and the United States go beyond those of friendship; the two countries are deeply linked by successful trade.

In only twenty years, Mexico’s economy was inward looking and heavily dependent on oil.  Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed two decades ago, the economy in Mexico has turned out to be one of the most open and competitive on the globe.  In fact, Mexico has become so competitive that when it comes to the measure of trade to GDP, Mexico is now surpassing China.

Many experts in the field of international economics say that this success story is mostly in part due to increased trade with the United States since NAFTA came into effect.  Regional supply chains between the United States and Mexico for different products have been flourishing since 1994; interestingly, the economic relationship between the US can be seen as a symbiotic one.  This is because for every article imported from Mexico, about 40 percent of it was actually made in the United States.

In many companies, there is a type of integration that crosses the border in a way that is basically seamless.  Research and development labs might be on one side of the border, while manufacturing will occur on the other, and both facilities may be only minutes away from each other.  In some cases, manufacturing, production and research may actually occur in both countries, meaning that industries in both the United States and Mexico are now permanently tied; the two economies are deeply linked in long-term relationships.

Both countries benefit by Mexico’s positive future.  What is particularly of interest to investors is the fact that even as the U.S. economy may have suffered in the past few years, the overall amount of trade occurring at the U.S. – Mexico border saw growth rates of around 7%.  By some estimates, if cross-border trade included services as well products, the monetary value of total trade would be well over half a trillion dollars per year.  The amount of trade could also increase exponentially if either partner were to increase free trade agreements with other trading blocs.  Negotiations are currently underway for a U.S. – European Union free trade agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership could open up Asian markets to the Mexico-U.S. products manufactured in the border regions.

Mexico still has to get its security situation under control, but the economy is still growing in spite of it.  The United States and Mexico share deep ties when it comes to their economies; the United States is Mexico’s largest export market, and Mexico is the largest or second largest market for 22 individual states.  Mexico’s success also spells success for their neighbour and partner north of the border.

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