The head of our Chinese Desk, Susana Muñoz, address the Digitial Currency in China. This week Mexican news outlets spread incorrect information regarding the digital yuan. Download this alert here: Chinese Desk -Digital Currency
The People’s Bank of China (PBC) defined the policy priorities for 2020 during its annual conference in early January. Among other policies focused on financial innovation and openness, the PBC included boosting research and development of the digital currency. This project began to be explored in 2014 because consumers were using more and more mobile payment systems such as WeChat Pay and Alipay in retail transactions.
PBC’s data estimate that in 2018 mobile transactions reached a total of 41.5 billion dollars, and it is expected that 790 million people in China will make payments through mobile systems by the end of 2020.
In mid-April, it was announced that digital currency tests would begin in the cities of Shenzhen, Suzhou, and Chengdu, as well as in the area of Xiongan, Hebei Province. The new currency will be issued by the Central Bank to institutions and banks, who will distribute the currency to users. During the pilot phase, government officials will receive their payroll payments through this currency, which will be payable through an application that does not require the use of the internet.
It is expected that the digital yuan will gradually replace cash in circulation, allowing transactions to be documented and tracked. The Central Bank will be the only institution authorized to maintain control of data privacy and crime prevention.
Regarding its impact on the exchange rate and international trade, it is important to note that the exchange rate of the yuan is defined by the Central Bank every day and its trade is allowed in a band of 2% at the day’s midpoint rate. The exchange rate is calculated based on a basket of currencies, which includes the US dollar among other international currencies.
On the other hand, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) is the entity that issues the regulations that govern the activities of the foreign exchange market and the management of state reserves. Thus, China does not have a foreign exchange free market, and any trade or investment operation made in a foreign currency requires an authorization or regulation that allows it.
Finally, it is expected that the transition to the digital yuan will occur gradually as there are pending challenges, such as information protection and its implementation, that will need to be resolved as the pilot program is being developed.
Today, the 13th of February, Chambers & Partners Global Guide 2020 was released and Vázquez Tercero & Zepeda appeared in Band 1 in the International Trade / WTO Law practice in Mexico. Over the past eight years, our firm has appeared in this important legal guide, consolidating itself as one of the leading law firms in international trade matters in Mexico.
The Chambers & Partners Global Guide 2020 defines our firm and team as:
“the team is known for Pace-setting player in international trade matters, routinely singled out for its anti-dumping and countervailing duties expertise. Regularly receives mandates from acclaimed clients in the metal, chemical and consumer products sectors, with particular strength in representing clients from Asian markets. NAFTA verifications of origin, customs compliance advice and representation before the Mexican tax authorities are additional areas of expertise.”
An interviewed source described Adrián Vázquez as “an expert in international law and is bright and experienced in this field.” Another source adds that “He’s always sharp and has been in the field for a long time with a steady practice.“.
As for Eduardo Zepeda, Chambers & Partners described him as a lawyer with a “solid knowledge of Mexico’s maquiladora industry, he often advises clients on the interactions between tax and customs laws in Mexico.”
(Download in PDF: Trading Room -221112019)
On Tuesday, the Decree that repeals the Declarations of all Special Economic Zones (“ZEEs”) was published in the evening edition of the Official Gazette of the Federation.
According to the Decree, one of the main reasons for ending this project is the omission of appointing the Integral Administrator, the person in charge of building and managing a Zone, due to the lack of compliance with legal requirements on behalf of the interested applicants; in addition, it was noted that the SEZ could not operate due to lack of both private and public investments.
The business sector in Mexico said it regrets the government’s decision since they were not consulted before officially ending the SEZ.
According to the Decree, the current administration will focus on the Mayan Train, the Tehuantepec Isthmus Development Program and the Northern Border Free Trade Zone Program.
In theory, a Mexican newspaper will share our Jr. Partner’s (Emilio Arteaga) thoughts in the following days regarding this decision. We will share the piece in our social media once published.
News outlets report that the points of disagreement regarding USMCA are now less between the Trump administration and the Democrats.
The president of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, said last week that an agreement on possible changes to the text of USMCA was imminent. However, Pelosi said during this week that there may not be enough time to close this agreement this year as there are still many legislative steps, such as the preparation of the implementing legislation and its voting.
The US Congress has only a few days of sessions left (there is the possibility of extending them) to resolve these pending issues and to approve the treaty in December. News outlets continue to highlight that the Democrats are not yet satisfied with the enforcement mechanism on the labor provisions, so it is possible that the “updated” USMCA will be approved next year in the US.
Everything seems to indicate that there will be a modification to USMCA’s text, these changes will obviously have to be approved by Mexico, possibly through amendment protocols.
El FICM es un consorcio global que cuenta con un sistema innovador en la gestión de conflictos y resolución de controversias en diversos sectores tales como medio ambiente, corporativo, infraestructura, comercial, gobierno, propiedad intelectual, entre otros.
Este consorcio cuenta con más de 600 expertos entre los que se encuentran jueces retirados, expertos en industria, mediadores y árbitros calificados, y abogados procedentes de más de 50 países.
El FICM lidera el cambio en la forma en que las disputas deben prevenirse y resolverse en el mundo moderno de hoy.
Adrián Vázquez ofrece apoyar a las personas y empresas en asuntos relacionados con temas contractuales, corporativos, asuntos industriales, infraestructura, propiedad intelectual y derechos de autor, así como propiedad. Invitamos que conozcan el perfil de Adrián Vázquez en el FICM.
(Download our newsletter in PDF: Trading Room -20190823)
In an interview, the Underminister of North American Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jesus Seade, commented on China and its “trade war” with the USA.
According to the news outlet, Mr. Seade commented that Mexico has to become more attractive for Chinese investment and that Mexico must address its trade deficit with China.
Also, we note that Chinese investment in Mexico is insignificant in comparison to foreign direct investment from other countries, e.g. the US, Japan, Korea, etc. However, Mr. Seade stressed that such situation must change and Mexico has “… to be [China’s] privileged partner in the western hemisphere, America, and Mexico has to do everything so that this can occur.”
This Wednesday, the US Department of Commerce announced a new draft agreement with Mexican tomato producers/exporters. The agreement will suspend the anti-dumping investigation and, therefore, it would avoid final antidumping duties on Mexican tomato.
Interested parties may comment on the draft suspension agreement during the next 30 days. In essence, Mexican tomato producers/exporters agreed to respect reference prices and, according to the Washington Post, 66% of tomato imports will be subject to an inspection to verify the quality of the product.
Once the suspension agreement enters into force, the US will eliminate the provisional anti-dumping duty, imposed on May 7th, 2019, and the duties paid would be returned or refunded to the Mexican tomato producers/exporters.
As previously announced, the guide Best Lawyers considered Vázquez Tercero & Zepeda as the 2019 Trade Law Firm. As a result of such great honor, Best Lawyers interviewed our managing partner, Adrian Vázquez, to have a legal insight regarding trade developments in Mexico.
Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer had a conversation with Adrian Vázquez, where our partner discussed a broad range of topics, from the future of international trade in Mexico, WTO disputes, why the renegotiation of NAFTA is forcing Mexico to explore new avenues for trade such as Europe and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the ways VTZ has innovated internally to adapt to the modern world.
We highlight Adrian’s comment when commenting on CPTPP:
Once I was talking with a U.S. trade lawyer, and he told me that TPP is all about three countries, Vietnam, Vietnam, and Vietnam. So that’s something that we should be very focused on, because Vietnam is very competitive in footwear, it’s competitive in textiles, and it’s competitive in steel. And those three are very sensitive sectors in Mexico.
I would guess that we will not be exporting textiles, footwear, or steel to Vietnam. On the contrary, we will be importing textiles, footwear, and steel from Vietnam and this will open new trade remedy cases against Vietnam. First, it was China, but Vietnam will follow.
The article is available on the following link:
(Download the PDF version of our newsletter: Trading Room)
On June 28th and 29th, the G20 summit was held in Osaka, Japan, and the Mexican President did not attend. We highlight, of course, the following three trade topics that were addressed in the “Global Economy” section of the declaration. First, the leaders of the G20 recognized the importance to maintain a stable, non-discriminatory trade and investment environment. Second, the G20 reaffirmed, as in Buenos Aires 2018, their support to reform the WTO, and its dispute settlement system. Third, G20 calls for a consensus by fall 2019 regarding the Steel Excess Capacity which is being discussed in the OECD.
In addition, this summit served as a forum so that the US and China could discuss a solution towards the ongoing trade war. In fact, the US suspended an additional tariff raise on 300 billion USD Chinese imports; currently, the US measures (i.e. 25% tariff) affect 250 billion USD of Chinese imports.
This Monday and Tuesday, Mexican Foreign Affair Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, and the State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, gathered to agree on a joint work plan for the next 5 years with the aim to strengthen the “Strategic Partnership”. The partnership was established in 2013 during the term of Peña Nieto.
This joint work plan aims to promote trade, mainly agricultural exports from Mexico, attract Chinese investment in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, electric mobility, e-commerce, among others. The plan also includes cooperation in education, science and technology, and cultural matters.
This Tuesday the Senate approved the Federal Austerity Law, which the Chamber of Deputies will shortly discuss and vote.
This in itself generates uncertainty because article 15 of said law prohibits foreign “delegations” (except those related to security) and that the Mexican State will be represented abroad only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This Law may have as a consequence the closure of the Ministry of Economy’s foreign offices, which are in charge of international trade topics and represent Mexico at international organizations, such as the WTO.
If the law is passed as such, experts are worried because the members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will absorb the tasks, and they lack experience in said topics. Will the members of the Ministry of Economy will be transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
(Download the PDF version: Trading Room -20190614
Friday afternoon, Mexico and the US agreed on the migration crisis, an agreement that prevents, at least temporarily, the establishment of tariffs against products from Mexico. We highlight the following from the joint declaration and the press:
Now that a major hurdle was avoided, the Mexican Senate is currently holding meetings regarding USMCA ratification. The Ministry of Economy provided the final English and the preliminary Spanish text of the treaty that are available in the following link: USMCA.
According to news outlets, the Mexican Senate may ratify USMCA next week, probably Wednesday 19 of June.
Inbound Logistics‘s featured story of January is “U.S.-Mexico Trade: Strong But Shifting“, and the author, Karen M. Kroll, interviewed our associate, Emilio Arteaga Vázquez, about the recent events between Mexico and the US, namely the signature of USMCA and its possible impacts on the value chains.
In the piece, our member is mentioned in a couple of occasions. We highlight the following paragraph:
All companies, but particularly manufacturers, should review the USMCA and identify whether the rules of origin applicable to their goods were modified, Vazquez recommends. If the rules were modified, companies may need to seek new suppliers, reshore production of inputs, or prepare to pay a Most Favored Nation (MFN) duty.
The article is available in the following link: https://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/us-mexico-trade-strong-but-shifting/
In Chambers and Partners’ Global Guide 2019, Vázquez Tercero & Zepeda (VTZ) is listed in Band 1 in the International Trade/WTO Law practice in Mexico. For the past seven years, VTZ has established itself as a leading law firm within this ranking.
According to the guide, VTZ is known for the following:
Pace-setting international trade powerhouse with renowned capabilities and presence in high-profile anti-dumping and countervailing duties cases. Team continues to represent a range of notable players from the steel and chemical industries in anti-dumping cases, especially those affecting clients from markets in Asia. Commands a strong reputation among peers for its specialisation in this field.
In addition, two VTZ partners are listed as leading lawyers and individuals in the field of International Trade/WTO Law: