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Authored by: Deborah Notkin, Esq.

The explosion in number of successful Mexican startups and entrepreneurs in recent years indicates a potential paradigm shift of North American business.  Not only has technology facilitated the ability for small enterprises and individuals to innovate and expose their ideas and products transnationally, the Mexican educational system has started providing a fertile environment for high-growth startups and global entrepreneurs to build strong foundations and thrive in the global marketplace.  Such developments in Mexico have in no way gone unnoticed in the United States.  For instance, the May 2013 executive agreement between Presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto led to the creation of the Mexico-United States Entrepreneurship Council (MUSEIC), which has a goal of using binational collaboration to promote and develop entrepreneurship, focusing on small and medium-sized businesses.  As startup trends continue to proliferate throughout Mexico and the US, cross-border entrepreneurship will become increasingly vital to the North American business landscape.

In fact, one way in which Mexican entrepreneurs may be able to fortify their startup ventures is to expand into the US marketplace.  The US government has made available specific nonimmigrant visas for global entrepreneurs to start or expand their businesses.  For example, Mexican nationals are eligible to receive E-1 and/or E-2 visas as Treaty Traders/Investors if they engage in substantial trade between the US and Mexico, or are coming to the US to direct and develop a substantial investment enterprise.  Not only are principle investors eligible for such visas, but certain employees who function in supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacities may also qualify.

Entrepreneurs who have already successfully established high-growth startups in Mexico may also consider expanding their enterprises into the US marketplace.  Such entrepreneurs can utilize L-1 visas to send executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity workers to either new or already established offices in the US.  This allows entrepreneurs to grow their businesses using trusted employees with proven track records and abilities, while also continuing to support business growth both domestically and transnationally.  Furthermore, Mexican businesses functioning in the US can also utilize US visas created pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in order to have certain Mexican professionals work with them temporarily in the US.

Given the current economic and political atmosphere in North America, knowledge and use of the above-mentioned US visas can be vital tools to Mexican entrepreneurs in the development and growth of the their startups.  While institutions such as MUSEIC and the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce continue to work towards more effective binational collaboration in the promotion of transnational entrepreneurship, some Mexican entrepreneurs may effectively grow their startups by using currently available nonimmigrant visas to expand into the US marketplace.

The experienced attorneys at Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP specialize in US business immigration issues.  If you have questions concerning how the various US nonimmigrant visas described above could help expand and grow your startup in the US marketplace, contact our offices for a consultation.

Authorís Biography: 

Deborah J. Notkin is a partner in the firm of Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP and maintains a large business immigration and nationality practice.  She is a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), 2005-2006 and serves on its Board of Governors. A noted expert in business immigration she is a frequent lecturer at the Practicing Law Institute, the New York State Bar Association and AILA. Human Resource Magazine has named Ms. Notkin one of the 15 most powerful business immigration attorneys in the U.S.   Ms. Notkin is listed in Best Lawyers in America; the International Who is Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers, and Chambers USA as recommended immigration counsel.  New York Super Lawyers has listed her as one of the top immigration attorneys in New York. Her numerous articles on business immigration have been cited frequently in other articles on immigration. 

Suicide Squeeze
Authored by: Brian Shube

One of the most exciting plays in baseball is the ‘suicide squeeze’. It requires timing and skill and when properly executed is very difficult to defend against.   The play starts with a runner on third with less than 2 outs and fewer than 2 strikes on the batter.  As the pitcher begins his throw, the runner breaks for home.  The batter must bunt the ball in fair territory.  If the bunt is far enough, the fielders have no choice but to throw out the batter on his way to first, allowing the runner from third to score easily.   

The two critical components of the play are the timing of the runner and the skill of the batter.  If the runner starts too early, he can be picked off at third.  If he leaves too late, there is a better chance for the defense to throw him out at home plate.  If the batter does not make contact with the ball, the runner is very easily tagged out.  He is under enormous pressure to make sure he puts the ball in play.   To defend against this play, the opposing team must anticipate the possibility and take measures to foil it before it begins.  There are two possible defensive plays that they can try.  The first, assuming the pitcher has a quick move, is to throw the ball over to the third baseman instead of pitching.  This will force the runner to stay close to third and perhaps lessen the possibility that he will run. 

The other defense would be the pitch out (throw the ball to the catcher outside of the strike zone putting him in a position to throw out the runner while making it impossible for the batter to hit the ball) guessing right can turn the runner into an easy out.   In the current economy, managers are hesitant to invest in their business.  They face a great deal of uncertainty and just like the baseball manager, trying to defend against the squeeze play they need to develop a strategy to give their team the best chance of success.  This requires decisive action.  The passive manager is doomed to lose this battle.   Business decisions are always a question of risk versus reward. 

The amount that we invest in developing and implementing contingency plans is (or certainly should be) based upon our assessment of the risks we are taking by not planning for such a contingency.  The most important thing is to assess the risk.  Once we have carefully considered that risk, we may yet decide that no action is necessary.  However, skipping the assessment of the risk is without a doubt a losing strategy.   Risk assessment is a continuous process.  As conditions change, risks that were minor in nature previously suddenly become much more serious.  Conversely, those that are serious risks today may become less so in the future.   A classic example of this phenomenon occurs when a small manufacturer suddenly wins a contract with a major retailer. 

The retailer is likely to specify very precise shipping requirements including specific delivery times, exact labeling requirements, and more.  For the manufacturer, late delivery or labeling mistakes which were hardly a cause for much concern suddenly carry the risk of significant fines and penalties (chargebacks) which can quickly wipe out the contracts profitability.  Management must seek ways to reduce the risks of such errors through close scrutiny of the operations and continuous improvement.   One approach which I advocate to my clients is to try to avoid ‘exception processing’.  Especially in the above example, the temptation is to continue to run the operation as before and add additional steps for the new customer, instead of incorporating that customer’s requirements into the normal flow.   Say for instance, the customer requires precise label placement on the shipping container in order to be compatible with his automated warehouse operation.  Your operations manager selects his best labeler (Sally) and has her pull the boxes off the end of the line for this ‘special’ customer and put the label in the right place. 

Unfortunately for Sally, this customer is much larger than all the ‘regular’ customers so she is quickly overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of boxes coming off of the line.  To keep the operation going, your operations manager is forced to take his second best labeler (Mary) and have her helping Sally get the work through.  Now, the rest of the operation suffers because the two best labelers are doing something else.   A much better approach would be to integrate the big customer’s labeling needs into the operation and label all customers orders the same way.   Through understanding of the risks, a good baseball manager can implement a strategy which will keep the run from scoring.  A business manager has the same opportunity.    

Author’s Biography:

Brian Shube is a management consultant, author, educator and IT professional with over 35 years of experience in manufacturing and distribution.

Brian is an expert on Import/Export and Supply Chain Management.  Brian’s practice focuses on helping clients to mitigate risk while improving performance and reducing costs.
In addition to his consulting practice, Brian teaches supply chain management at Stony Brook University and has published articles on the subject in major business journals

Highlights of Mexicoís Energy Reform Legislation

Following the historic constitutional energy reforms passed by the Mexican Congress in December 2013, the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto submitted on April 30, 2014 for approval of the Mexican Congress, the secondary legislation (the “Legislation”) that will implement these reforms, overhauling the Mexican oil and natural gas, petrochemical, and power generation industries.  Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives are currently debating the Legislation, with final passage expected by the end of June.  The Legislation includes nine new laws and amendments to several current laws that should outline how the revolutionary energy reforms approved last December will be implemented.

In essence, firstly, Mexico proposes to permit both Mexican and non-Mexican investors into the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and gas, as well as into the refining and marketing of hydrocarbons. This ends the exclusive rights to Mexican hydrocarbons once held by Pemex, the state-controlled oil company. Secondly, a new set of autonomous, independently funded regulators will be created for licensing, safety, and environmental protection in the hydrocarbons sector.

Third, Mexico will require measures of transparency unmatched in the hemisphere. This will include public access to contracts, disaggregation and disclosure of revenue sources and open accounting of its national petroleum fund.

These changes are enshrined by changes to three articles of the Mexican Constitution and approved by the Mexican Senate. Essentially, the reform is the core of the government’s plan to boost economic growth and to strengthen the domestic oil and gas industries. The energy reform represents a landmark in Mexico’s energy policy and provides for a first step in encouraging private investment. The scale of this reform is breathtaking in its scope and ambition. The energy reform provides for mechanisms in which investors may be able to participate in the exploration and production of the hydrocarbons.

This reform will be dynamic in that it will generate large and valuable opportunities for domestic and foreign companies. In particular, international private oil companies will be interested to form joint ventures with PEMEX. Investment opportunities will emerge across the value chain in the energy sector, including in oil production, the construction and management of new refineries, creating new pipeline capacity, building new gas storage and transport facilities, and even revamping the gas station sector.

Highlights of the Secondary Legislation

Private Participation in Oil and Gas

  • Participation and competition between PEMEX and private companies in upstream and midstream activities.
  • The opening to the retail fuels sector.

Exploration & Production

  • Exploration & Production contracts will be awarded through public bids by the National Hydrocarbons Commission (“NHC”).
  • NHC will execute Exploration & Production contracts with PEMEX, other State Productive Companies, or private-sector companies (domestic companies which may be 100 percent foreign owned).
  • PEMEX may enter into joint venture agreements or joint operating agreements with the private sector.
  • The Ministry of Energy may determine the participation of PEMEX or other State Productive Companies in certain Exploration & Production contracts up to 30 percent when it considers that such entities will receive an aggregate value in technology and experience from the private sector or when such projects are supported by specialized financing vehicles of the Mexican government.

Exploration & Production Contract Payment and Compensation

  • In connection with “production sharing” contracts and “profit sharing” contracts, generally private contractors will pay an exploration stage fee, royalties, and a payment of a percentage over the operating profit.
  • In “license contracts,” generally private contractors will pay an exploration stage fee, royalties, a signing bonus and a percentage over the operating profit or the contractual value of the hydrocarbons.
  • The specifics of each payment and compensation scheme will vary on a case-by-case basis for each contract, including production payments, net profit arrangements, cost recovery and sliding scales

Three sets of facts make clear the untapped opportunities Mexico has to offer:

  • Mexico sits atop some of the world’s biggest oil and gas resources, with a total estimate of 450 billion barrels of oil equivalent.  This is comparable to the resource base of Saudi Arabia.  Further, Mexico’s offshore fields in the Gulf of Mexico also rank amongst the world’s most accessible, while its shale fields are the global top six;
  • Mexico currently operates fewer than 5% of the total number of offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico; and
  • To date, only several dozen wells have been drilled into Mexico’s shale formations; compared to the U.S. shale where more than 40,000 wells were drilled in last year alone.

Politically, President Pena Nieto and Mexico’s Congress are backing foreign investment and participation in the country’s hydrocarbon business which has long been a symbol of Mexican nationalism.  Mexico’s Congress appears to be on schedule to soon produce the detailed legislation called for by the constitutional amendment, one should take encouragement from the speed of political progress thus far.  Mexico’s government projects that the new reform will boost production to at least 3 million barrels per day by 2024.  What can be said is that Mexico’s policymakers have set in motion the framework required to unleash Mexico’s 21st century energy revolution especially in light of the International Energy Agency’s forecast that world purchases of oil and gas will grow by a cumulative $30 trillion over the coming two decades.

This reform will lead to the opening of the markets and Mexico is poised to become a competitive and attractive investment destination in the global energy landscape.

You Too Can Execute a M&A Strategy
Building Competency in Acquisitions- Part One: Developing an M&A Strategy

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Strategy- Author’s note: The activities that lead to the identification and ultimate execution of an opportunity are very intertwined and subject to continuous learning and improvement. With that in mind, I will summarize four main activities in the M&A (mergers and acquisitions) Process Lifecycle over the course of four different articles as follows:

  • M&A Strategy (part 1 below)
  • Sourcing
  • Approach
  • Execution

What is an M&A Strategy?
M&A Strategy details the principles, priorities and approach to acquisitions and investments that support the vision and objectives of a company.  Developing this strategy calls on a careful review of the target market to determine the existence of satisfactory opportunities and the possibility of a transaction, as well as how best to execute on a transaction(s) in the context of a company’s budget, operational readiness, and other boundaries and constraints.  As such, the M&A Strategy provides important feedback to the Corporate Strategy about the achievability of its objectives based on the feasibility of M&A.

Major Components of an M&A Strategy- Framework Corporate Focus Areas and Requirements (From Corporate Strategy)-  The basis of the M&A Strategy lies in its alignment with the key focus areas articulated by senior management in the Corporate Strategy.  The description of the assets and capabilities necessary to meet the stated corporate mission and objectives provides the detail by which the M&A Strategy can validate availability of targets and transaction market dynamics.

Financial Guidelines -  Financial guidelines represent an important parameter in the development of the Corporate Strategy.  Companies should publish, regularly review and update (as necessary) budget guidelines for acquisitions and investments and required return metrics and benchmarks, consistent with its capital allocation methodologies and market practices. Market practices are largely aligned around similar metrics but differ in the methodologies, weighting and priority ascribed to each.  Two metrics most that appear to form the basis of most decisions are the IRR (Internal Rate of Return) and Cash Payback, which are very much consistent with the methodologies employed to review internal projects and to make capital allocation decisions.

Acquisition and Investment Opportunity Evaluation (By Focus Area)
A detailed market analysis of each requirement should identify the availability of acquisition and investment targets that fit within financial boundaries and key desired characteristics.  Early insight into the availability of potential partners or targets will better inform whether M&A is indeed achievable for a particular area and what approach is appropriate.

Mexico Economic Review & Outlook
Authored by: Robert Wagstaff, Managing Director, Frontera Capital Advisors LLC

Despite an initial growth projection of 3.5%, Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP) was revised down three times throughout 2013, with final growth for 2013 of 1.1%. The 2013 rate is a decline from the 3.9% and 3.8% growth rates in 2012 and 2011, respectively, and is the nation’s lowest growth rate since the 2009 recession. The country’s sluggish economic performance in 2013 was a result of a wide range of issues, including: the transition to a new presidential administration, a slowing construction sector, and reduced U.S. demand for certain Mexican made goods. 

Although Mexico got off to a relatively slow start to 2014, a projected U.S. rebound and newly passed reforms paint a bright picture for Latin America’s second largest economy. GDP is projected to grow between 3.0% - 3.5%. Mexico’s largest trade partner, the United States, is projected to grow 2.8% after a weaker than expected 2013 (1.9%).  Accelerated growth in the U.S. will help aid a manufacturing rebound, as demand for Mexican exports is expected to rise.  Mexico’s auto industry, which accounts for 4.0% of GDP & 20% of manufacturing, produced and exported a record number of cars and light trucks in the first quarter of 2014.

President Enrique Peña Nieto’s economic reforms, approved by Congress last year, are expected to contribute to growth by stimulating the telecommunications, education, financial, and energy sectors. In particular, the energy reform, which opened up the energy sector to private investment, is expected to make a significant impact on the nation’s economic growth. By virtue of this legislation, private entities will be able to invest in the exploration of oil and gas.

Given the energy reform’s promise, foreign companies are beginning to expand business within Mexico. Norwegian offshore drilling company, Seadrill Ltd. (controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen), has already finalized four new drilling contracts (with a fifth in the works) with Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) valued at US $1.8 billion.  French multinational oil and gas company Total SA has also taken advantage of the new investment climate, signing a technology sharing agreement with PEMEX in which the two companies will exchange technology related to hydrocarbon exploration and production, as well as explore future business opportunities in non-conventional fields. The state-owned oil company is also in talks with multiple companies about potential future joint ventures and expects to announce partnerships by the end of 2014 or early 2015 according to Emilio Lozoya, PEMEX’s Chief Executive Officer. The Peña Nieto administration predicts that once implemented in its full capacity, the new energy reform will increase GDP by a full percentage point by 2018 and an additional 2 percentage points by 2025.

Author’s Biography:

Robert Wagstaff is a Managing Director at Frontera Capital Advisors, LLC. He is a leader in advising clients engaged in cross-border transactions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. His technical expertise includes significant hands-on operational and financial management in leadership roles, buy-side and sell-side financial due diligence, strategic business evaluations, turnarounds, financial restructurings and divestitures, valuations and deal structuring.

Prior to joining Frontera, Mr. Wagstaff was a Managing Director at a publicly-traded, multinational consulting firm in their corporate finance Latin America practice. Prior to that, Mr. Wagstaff was Vice President of Finance for Osprey Pharmaceuticals, where he raised more than $35 million in private equity for this pre-clinical stage biotechnology company. Before that, Mr. Wagstaff was with SITEL Corp, a global publically-traded company in the outsourced call center services industry where he held senior financial and operating roles, including Executive Director of M&A, Chief Financial Officer for Latin America and Managing Director of the Mexico and Colombia business unit.

Prior to SITEL, Mr. Wagstaff was with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Montreal, Mexico City and New York, where he was a Manager in the Corporate Finance practice and led a variety of financial advisory engagements in a range of sectors, including real estate, industrial products, telecommunications, technology, energy and manufacturing.

Mr. Wagstaff’s advisory clients include Alcoa, Cadillac Tire and Rubber, Cerberus, Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (Alcoa Guinea), ED & F Man Sugar, Exxon Mobil, Hicks Muse, JP Morgan, Marmon/Keystone Corporation, Microsoft, Rolls Royce (Canada), and Thor Equities. Mr. Wagstaff has served clients in every major country in the Americas, and in Europe, India, Australia and Africa.
Mr. Wagstaff holds a B.Comm in accounting from Concordia University in Montreal. He has resided in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Ireland. Mr. Wagstaff is fluent in Spanish and French.

JOES PUB June 5th, 2014, 21:30hrs 425 Lafayette St · New York 212 539 8778

Every relationship is about the commingling of two unique sensibilities into one harmonious experience. Dawn is a romance in luxurious musical form, bringing together the passion and rhythmic drive of Flamenco with the sultry sophistication and alluring wit of jazz. As the title implies, Dawn marks a bold, bright beginning for the partnership between the extraordinary Mexican-born jazz vocalist Magos Herrera and the young Spanish Flamenco innovator Javier Limón.

The collaboration between Herrera and Limón represents the blending of two fresh, forward-thinking approaches to their respective musical traditions. Since moving to New York City in 2008, Herrera has brought the sounds of her native Mexico City into the vanguard of modern jazz, collaborating with such acclaimed and distinctive artists as pianist Aaron Goldberg, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist John Patitucci and saxophonist Tim Ries. As a virtuosic guitaristist and in-demand producer, Limón has helped to expand the vocabulary of Flamenco music via collaborations with renowned artists like Paco de Lucia, Bebo and Chucho Valdés, Avishai Cohen, and Wynton Marsalis, among others.

“Something that we share is that we do believe that music can be inclusive,” Herrera says. “So this means that you can have a Latin jazz singer singing with a Flamenco guitar player.”

Dawn finds the pair bringing these unique backgrounds to bear on a stunning set of American and Latin jazz masterpieces, including the Miles Davis classic “Blue in Green,” Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue,” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “O que tinha de ser (What Has to Be),” alongside their own intoxicating original compositions. The duo’s refreshing takes on these classic tunes stakes out a decidedly 21st century reinvention of these wide-ranging musical traditions, intertwining Herrera’s emotive voice with Limón’s intricate fretwork.

“It’s been an incredible learning experience to see how he works as a producer,” Herrera says, “and for me to share and be able to create new music together.”

Limón says of his collaborator, “I really appreciate a singer like Magos that has a great voice, great rhythm, and a great sense of musicality. She has a big heart with a lot of knowledge. The album, if we have to choose just a few words, is about sound, about rhythm, about loneliness, about emptiness, about voice, heart, guitar, and silence.”

Both Herrera and Limón can boast a profound familiarity with that panoply of emotion and experience. After studying at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and the New England Conservatory in Boston, Herrera returned to Mexico City and released five albums, garnering a large and dedicated following. She moved back to the U.S. in 2008, immediately commanding attention with a knockout performance at that year’s Winter Jazz Fest and a guest appearance on Tim Ries’ album Stones World: The Rolling Stones Project II.

Ries then produced her sixth album, 2009’s highly successful Distancia, which featured Goldberg and Loueke. Her follow-up, México Azul, was an homage to composers from Mexico’s cinematic golden age in the 1930s and ‘40s. Still immensely popular in her home country, Herrera has produced and starred in two music-oriented TV programs on Mexico’s Channel 22, while in New York she hosts her own radio show, La Vuelta a La Manzana, in which she discusses music with some of today’s leading jazz stars. The U.S. Latin magazine Siempre Mujer recognized her alongside Michelle Obama as one of 2011’s ten most important women for her work as a musical ambassador for contemporary Mexican music.

A graduate of the Madrid Royal Conservatory, where he studied piano and guitar, Limón began his career as a composer for Flamenco artists, but his vision has since expanded to encompass Latin jazz and Cuban music. He has recorded everywhere from Bogota to Paris and from New York to Palestine, lending an international scope to his Flamenco concepts.

In pursuit of total creative independence, Limón created his own record label, Casa Limón, in 2003. The label’s first release, Limón, featured special appearances by Paco de Lucia and Niño Josele, among others, who performed original compositions by Limón. The album was followed by Son de Limón (2008) and Mujeres de Agua (2010), a collaboration album featuring acclaimed Portuguese vocalist Mariza, long-time collaborator Buika, Greek folk singer Estrella and Israeli singer-songwriter Yasmin Levy, among others. In 2004, his production work on albums by Diego El Cigala, Bebo Valdés, Paco de Lucia, Andrés Calamaro, Enrique Morente and Niño Josele, won him the Latin GRAMMY for “Producer of the Year.” In addition, Valdés’ album Lágrimas Negras (produced by Limón) was nominated for Album of the Year and won a Latin GRAMMY for Traditional Tropical Album.

Aside from his extensive discography as an artist, producer, composer and collaborator, Limón co-hosts the shows Entre dos Aguas and Los oficios de la cultura for Spanish National Television and served as musical director for the network’s song contest program Hijos de Babel. He currently serves as Artistic Director of the Berklee College of Music’s Mediterranean Music Institute.

Together, Herrera and Limón have crafted an intimate and beautifully expressive exploration of their musical heritages and the winding crossroads that unite them.
Press contact: DL media Amy

San Miguel de Allende Features Organic & Cosmopolitan Cuisine

Long one of North America’s favorite destinations in Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is also one of the country’s leading culinary destinations with cooks and chefs of all walks of life making the UNESCO World Heritage city their home.

Home to over 63 nationalities and with more than 76 restaurants, from 5 Star to mom-and-pop cafes, some with generations of history to interactive cooking classes with locals and international chefs, this Conde Nast Traveler “Best City in the World,” has embraced its gastronomical inheritance with trend-setting movements and international festivals.

San Miguel de Allende is located in an area rich for agriculture with farms and ranches abound, making an ideal place for the use of organic produce, the idea behind TU SMA (Your San Miguel de Allende). This city-wide movement has inspired many and includes an open air farmers market on every Saturday and a number of chefs who have opted for a healthier seasonal menu, including Chef Donnie Materton, who heads the kitchen at The Restaurant.

Mexico City’s Pujol Chef, Enrique Olvera, has made Moxi, the restaurant in The Matilda hotel, his newest playground by creatively employing La Purisimo de Jalpa Farm to create fruit and cheese pairings exclusively made for Moxi, as well as other original creations. Located next to the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel, the rooftop bar La Azotea offers Spansih fusion cuisine and has become known for its “tacos de jicama” (Mexican yam).

During the months of May and June, SMA Gourmet will take place, offering different culinary events to be enjoyed by all palates.  On June 7th the second edition of Cinco Chefs, Cinco Tiempos, Cinco Horas (five chefs, five courses, five hours) will take place at the Casa de Aves hotel. Attendees can select one course from each chef as well as buy the ingredients used in the dishes from local farm owners.
From June 13 to 15 in the Parque Juarez will host the Flavors of San Miguel Fair, offering visitors and locals several culinary activities, including wine tastings, showcases, conferences, live music and activities for children. Another event within the SMA Gourmet program is theInternational Chefs Meeting, Taste of Rosewood, bringing world-class chefs to live a new experience: the chefs go to shop at typical markets and stores around the city, and then they cook in the house of a San Miguel local inhabitant. Chef Victor Palma helped spearhead the development of a new "Locally Sourced, Nationally Inspired" cuisine.

The last addition of culinary festivals took place this past March with the celebration of Mesa Abierta, an event that brought the best international chefs to experience San Miguel Allende with a giant picnic where local and international suppliers offered their products. Some of the chefs that participated were Rick Bayless (Topolobampo, Chicago); Frank Castronovi and Frank Falcinelli (Frankies Sputino, New York); Mauro Colagreco (Mirazur, France); Benito Molina (Manzanilla, Ensenada); Jorge Vallejo (Quintonil, Mexico City); and Elena Reygadas (Rosetta, Mexico City).

New Mexican Antitrust Law
Authored by: Alejandro Mendiola

In April, Congress passed the new Federal Economic Competition Act (“Law”), which was first proposed by the federal executive branch. As a result, the law that had been in effect since 1993 was repealed. This Law is expected to be published by the executive branch in Federal Official Gazette in the coming days and should enter into force 45 days following its publication. Through this Law, the government is attempting to implement a constitutional reform regarding economic competition that was approved in June 2013. The following is a summary of the most salient aspects of the new Law and is not an in-depth analysis.

The Commission- The aforementioned constitutional reform restructured what is now referred to as the Federal Economic Competition Commission (“Commission”) into an independent government agency (previously, it had been a semi-autonomous agency under the purview of the Ministry of Economy) with its own legal personality and assets. Moreover, all five commissioners were removed from the Commission, and seven new commissioners were appointed using a selection process carried out by an Evaluation Committee consisting of the Mexican central bank, the National Institute for Educational Assessment, and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography. The reform also led to the creation of a telecommunications regulatory agency called the Federal Telecommunications Institute, among whose responsibilities is enforcing the Law in matters of telecommunications and broadcasting.

For the purpose of this document, the Commission's powers apply to said Institute in matters of economic competition regarding telecommunications and broadcasting.
As stated above, the governing body of the Commission is made up of seven commissioners, including its chairman, who decide on cases via majority vote, except in specific cases in which a qualified majority is required. The Commission must hold public sessions (except in a few cases), and session minutes must also be made public. Commissioners may be impeached in accordance with applicable law, and there are specific reasons for which they may be removed by the Senate.

Due to its independent nature, the Commission must prepare and coordinate its budget with the Ministry of the Treasury and Public Credit so that its budget is included in the Federal Expense Budget.

Investigation Authority- One of the Law's new features is the creation of an Investigation Authority in the form of an independent agency under the Commission's purview that is responsible for investigating violations of the Law. Once this authority has concluded its investigation and has issued a determination of presumptive liability concluding that the economic agent is presumably liable for a monopolistic practice or forbidden concentrations, it becomes another party to the trial form procedure overseen by the Commission. The head of the authority must be appointed by a qualified majority of five commissioners, serves a four-year term, and may be reelected once.

To read the entire article, please visit

Author’s Biography:

Alejandro Mendiola Díaz is a partner at the Mexican law firm Ramírez, Gutiérrez-Azpe, Rodríguez-Rivero y Hurtado, S.C. and may be contacted at

Infographic: Monterrey Investment Outreach Event

On March 18-19, Surgo Group team members participated in the Monterrey Investment Outreach: Business & Investment Forum in New York City.

As data analytics specialists, it was valuable to confirm our findings on economic growth rates, and their correlations to the growing investment opportunities for Fortune 500 firms and institutional investors alike (both foreign and domestic).

Key Findings:
Search traffic and interest trends indicate that Monterrey is continuing it’s urbanization with increases in quality of education and growing as a pivotal trade hub to Mexico and South America. As interest increases, company reputation and community engagement will remain a top priority for organizations wanting to succeed in the region.

Technological innovation is also occurring rapidly with a high calibre of universities to provide top level technicians and engineers; both required for advances in the modern processes.

The event was two days of informative and educational presentations, sponsored by notable organizations such as Peninsula PressCNN, in collaboration with the US-Mexico Chamber of CommerceConsulado General de Mexico en Nueva York, the US Chamber of Commerce and Pro Mexico.

If you would like more information about Surgo Group and our predictive data enhancement solutions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly here.


VERTEX is Leading Partner in the Development of a 30- megawatt solar electric project in Zacatecas, Mexico

The Vertex Companies, Inc. (VERTEX), headquartered in Weymouth, Massachusetts, is a leading partner in the development of a 30-megawatt solar electric power plant located in Zacatecas, Mexico. When complete, this project will be one of the largest of its kind in Latin America.

The announcement came during a reception held on March 20th as part of the Massachusetts – Mexico Innovation Partnership Mission. The joint announcement was made by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Zacatecas Governor Miguel Alonso Reyes.

For more information on the reception and Mexico Innovation Partnership Mission please click here:

VERTEX has operated for over 10 years in the Mexican market as Vertex Ingenieros Consultores, S. de R.L. de C.V., completing dozens of energy and environmental projects in a variety of industries.  VERTEX recently completed a renewable energy market study for the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s government-owned utility.

In Zacatecas, VERTEX is collaborating with local Mexican partners to develop the first utility-scale solar PV project in the state and one of the largest in Latin America overall.  The 30 MW ZacSol 1 project is the first phase of up to 90 MW that will be installed near the municipality of Guadalupe over the next several years.  With an estimated $92 million investment in Zacatecas that will create approximately 400 construction and operational jobs, this first phase represents a significant step forward for Mexico in realizing their solar potential.

With its progressive renewable energy policies, high fossil-based electricity prices, and the third highest solar insolation in the world, Mexico represents one of the most exciting current opportunities for renewable energy production.  According to the Inter-American Development Bank, Mexico has a potential for 45 GW of solar energy.  Throughout most of Mexico, solar PV projects are profitable without government subsidies with Northern and Central Mexican projects typically breaking even after only two years, according to a recent report by SENER, Mexico’s Energy Department.

Massachusetts and Mexico share a strong, established relationship that has the potential to develop significantly through the cultivation of bi-national partnerships such as ZacSol. In 2013, Mexico was Massachusetts’ third ranked import partner, with Massachusetts importing approximately $3.37 billion worth of goods and services.  Mexico was Massachusetts’ third ranked export partner, with Massachusetts exporting approximately $1.86 billion worth of goods and services.  Similar to the Patrick Administration, the Administration of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has pursued a growth strategy that invests in education, innovation, and infrastructure.

For more information, please contact Mr. James Bowen ( or Lisa Dehner ( 781-952-6000. Also visit VERTEX at


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