The Mexico Business Forum 2023 provided an insightful legal perspective on key topics shaping the Mexican business landscape. Panels highlighted the legal intricacies and challenges faced by businesses in Mexico. By addressing these topics in detail, the event facilitated a deeper understanding of the legal implications and best practices for navigating the Mexican legal landscape in 2023.
Our first panel of the day presented by Greenberg Traurig, delved into the shifting landscape of antitrust regulations and compliance in Mexico. Panelists discussed recent developments in antitrust enforcement, including new legislation and regulatory initiatives. They emphasised the need for businesses to proactively monitor and adapt to these changes to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties. Additionally, the panel highlighted the importance of developing robust internal compliance programs, conducting regular antitrust risk assessments, and implementing effective training programs for employees to foster a culture of competition and fair play within organizations.
Moving onto the second panel of the day, presented by Martinez, Algaba, De Haro y Curiel, speakers focused on the intricate nature of moral and punitive damages litigation in Mexico. They explored the specific legal considerations associated with calculating and substantiating such damages in civil lawsuits. They discussed recent legal reforms impacting the calculation of damages and emphasised the role of expert witnesses in providing objective evaluations The amount of moral damages awarded varies depending on the specific circumstances of the case, including the severity of the harm and the impact it had on the claimant’s life. Mexican courts consider various factors, such as the nature of the harm, the social and economic status of the parties involved, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Unlike some legal systems, Mexico generally does not recognize punitive damages as a separate category of damages. However, there are exceptional cases where punitive damages can be awarded, but they are relatively rare. To obtain punitive damages, the claimant typically needs to demonstrate that the defendant’s conduct was not only negligent or wrongful but also involved intentional or malicious behavior. Additionally, the claimant must prove that the defendant’s actions were aimed at causing harm or were of an extraordinary nature that warrants additional punishment.
Sponsored by Ritch Mueller, our third panel examined the critical role of governance in integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria into business practices. Panelists emphasised the legal obligations of directors and boards in overseeing ESG-related matters and ensuring transparency and accountability. Discussions revolved around the legal frameworks and disclosure requirements governing ESG reporting, the importance of stakeholder engagement, and the potential legal implications of failing to adhere to ESG standards. They also highlighted the benefits of implementing robust governance structures, including the mitigation of legal and reputational risks. It is of the utmost importance that legal departments are de facto line with the ethical principles of ESG, otherwise, these remain just unfulfilled categories.
After a delightful lunch, White and Case’s panel explored the legal aspects related to nearshoring and infrastructure development in Mexico. Benefiting of a strategic position, the panelists discussed the legal and regulatory considerations involved in establishing nearshoring operations, including labor laws, tax regulations, and intellectual property protections. They also examined the legal challenges associated with infrastructure development, such as land acquisition, environmental impact assessments, and permitting processes. Nearshoring is a very up-to-date topic in Mexico nowadays, as numerous global companies are investing in the country.
The final panel, sponsored by Wöss & Partners, focused on the legal opportunities and challenges encountered when undertaking large-scale projects in Mexico. Panelists discussed the specific legal frameworks governing major sectors, including energy, transportation, and telecommunications. Due to the country’s abundant natural resources, it is very important to adequately understand and assess regulatory requirements, securing necessary permits and licenses, and managing legal risks associated with large-scale projects. The panel also emphasised the need for effective contract management, dispute resolution mechanisms, and compliance with local laws and regulations throughout the project lifecycle.