The Mexican Senate has introduced a legislative bill amending the Foreing Trade Law, whereby it would create an independent trade policy body.
DRAFT AMENDMENT TO THE FOREIGN TRADE LAW
On March 23, 2010, the PRI members of the Mexican Senate submitted a Draft
Amendment Decree to the Foreign Trade Law (?FTL?). The proposed amendment provides
for changes to several articles of the FTL with a view to transforming the Foreign Trade
Commission (?COCEX?, by its Spanish acronym) into a decentralized public entity, with its
own legal capacity and funds, and technical and operational autonomy; which will be
headed by five commissioners with proven international trade experience, who shall be
appointed by the President and ratified by the Senate.
According to the new functions of COCEX, the entity would be vested with broad authority
to analyze and resolve on tariff modifications proposed by the Ministry of Economy, as well
as on rules or origin and country of origin markings; it shall render advisory opinions on
non-tariff measures and restrictions to exports, imports and the circulation and transit of
goods. Likewise, one of its main tasks would be to administer the proceedings and resolve
on antidumping and subsidies investigations, as well as to propose to the Minister of
Economy the measures that result from such investigations. In sum, it would assist the
Ministry of Economy in the creation and operation of trade policy.
The COCEX would have an Internal Council created to fully comply with the obligation of
hearing the industrial sectors involved in trade matters and taking them into consideration;
thereby avoiding unilateral decisions and even providing such council with advisory
responsibilities during the course international trade negotiations.
The amendments to the Foreign Trade Law also seek to demand from the President the
annual submission of a detailed report to Congress, which also contains a medium term
Foreign Trade Strategy which shall be approved by the Mexican Senate. Thus, it seeks to
empower the Legislative Branch regarding the ratification of the commissioners, the
approval of the strategic plan and assessment of the authority exercised by the Executive
Branch in connection with foreign trade and, in addition to its participation through the
Internal Council, a more active participation of Congress as regards the establishment of
Mexico?s trade policy.
As a whole, the driving force of the draft amendment is to improve the regulatory scheme
of Mexican foreign trade, encourage competitiveness and provide for effective actions
against unfair international trade practices.?