January 17, 2020
1. Mexican government celebrates U.S. ratification of the USMCA trade deal
The U.S. Senate approved the trade agreement between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, USMCA; the approval signals the end of tedious legislative processes and drawn out negotiations. Mexican officials celebrated the Senate’s approval.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated that the agreement’s approval will provide confidence to foreign investors and strengthen labor activity in Mexico. Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón also applauded the U.S. legislature’s approval and congratulated his ministry’s Undersecretary for North America, Jesús Seade. On the other hand, the Mexican Stock Exchange reported its best figures over the last four weeks stemming from the final approval of the USMCA Agreement.
El Universal: México celebra aprobación del T-MEC
2. U.S. Attorney General meets with Mexican government officials
Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero received his U.S. counterpart, William Barr, in Mexico City. During the meeting, both officials pledged to strengthen cooperation to halt arms trafficking to Mexico and combat the transit of fentanyl.
Another issue addressed was the arrest former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico under President Felipe Calderón, Genaro García Luna, in the U.S. García Luna is accused of receiving bribes from drug cartels during his time in office. Gertz Manero pledged to cooperate with U.S. authorities. William Barr also held meetings with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard and Secretary of Public Safety Alfonso Durazo Montaño.
El Sol de México: William Barr y Gertz Manero suman fuerzas contra tráfico de armas
3. Mexican business organizations demand certainty to invest
At a press conference, the President of the Executive Council of Global Companies (CEEG), Claudia Jañez, and the President of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), Carlos Salazar Lomelín, demanded President López Obrador provide economic certainty to attract more private investment to Mexico.
Claudia Jañez said that Mexico faces difficulties in attracting investments due to the “hostile rhetoric” towards private investment she attributed to the current administration. Carlos Salazar Lomelín, on the other hand, emphasized the need to have clear rules without modifications in order to prevent uncertainty. Both organizations agreed that it is also necessary to strengthen the fight against corruption and to reduce the security crisis.
El Financiero: IP demanda certidumbre para invertir
4. Illegal outsourcing to be classified as organized crime
President López Obrador announced the creation of a working group against illegal subcontracting. This group will aim to identify companies that turn to illegal outsourcing practices for the purpose of evading payments to workers or the tax office (SAT) and may be prosecuted for organized crime or tax fraud with penalties of up to 20 years of prison.
The Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare, Luisa María Alcalde, stated that at least 6,000 companies use illegal subcontracting, which causes the government to lose MXN $21 billion (USD $1.2 billion) in tax revenue annually. The working group against illegal subcontracting will include: Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the Institute for the National Housing Fund for Workers (INFONAVIT).
5. Government postpones reforms to the judiciary system
The Federal Government postponed the presentation of reforms to the justice system, after the leak of nine documents (possibly drafts) of initiatives that, according to experts and activists, would cause setbacks to the New Accusatory Criminal Justice System and represent a risk to human rights.
At a press conference with Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero; Julio Scherer, Legal Counselor of the Presidency; Olga Sánchez Cordero, Secretary of the Interior; and the Presidents of the Senate, Mónica Fernández Balboa; and MORENA Senate President, Ricardo Monreal Ávila, a package of reforms to the justice system was issued and will be officially presented on February 1st.