The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – Paving the Way for a Cross-Border Fintech Sandbox

Key Takeaways

  1. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) provides for financial and digital trade regulations that harmonize the treatment of fintech companies.
  2. North American companies leveraging digital assets for payments should consider strategic regional opportunities available under the new USMCA fintech Framework.
  3. The USMCA Parties (member countries) continue to license fintech companies using cryptocurrency and create regulatory sandboxes to incentivize experimentation with the new technology under relaxed regulatory conditions.

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Mexico’s Economic Outlook During and After COVID-19 and the Maquiladora Industry

On May 13, 2020, Sheppard Mullin co-sponsored a webinar hosted by the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce involving Mexico’s economic outlook and the impact on the maquiladora industry. Below are some interesting take-aways from the program.

Economic Outlook

Sergio Luna, Director of the Department of Economic Research and Chief Economist at Citibanamex, explained that notwithstanding the global recession we are experiencing, the Mexican peso is projected to appreciate towards the end of 2020. However, because it will take time to recover from the recession, the GPD growth for Mexico is projected to be at -9% for 2020 but is expected to reach approximately 4.8% in 2021.

Luna also discussed the implications for the labor market, including the unemployment rate, which is expected to increase to 6.3% in 2020 from 3.5% in 2019. Lastly, he indicated that we can expect to recover over 50% of jobs lost in 2020 by the end of 2021. Continue Reading

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Applications – Eligibility for Small US Businesses Owned by Latin American Companies

The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) in its implementation of the CARES Act just released an updated loan application form for borrowers who want to avail themselves of Title I – Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans. This form may be found here. Continue Reading

Business in Mexico? Five Tips for Success

Doing business across cultural lines can be challenging. The spoken and unspoken rules will change depending on where in the world you find yourself. A misstep or unintended faux pas can be the difference between landing the deal or successfully negotiating a resolution to a disagreement and failing. This article is a companion piece to Episode 66 of Sheppard Mullin’s Nota Bene podcast where we discuss some of our tips for doing business in Mexico. Below are some quick pointers we discussed on the podcast. Although not perfectly transferable, these tips should also apply to business dealings in Latin America generally. Continue Reading

Modernizing NAFTA: The United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

On January 16, 2020, the United States Senate voted by an overwhelming majority to pass the implementing legislation for the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) after months of tense negotiations with Democrats over revisions to the original agreement which had been signed by all three signatories on November 30, 2018.

The USMCA has been touted by its supporters as a comprehensive and modern trade agreement to replace the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But how does the USMCA differ from NAFTA and what is so modern about it? The following is a brief overview of the notable differences between this 21st century agreement and its predecessor: Continue Reading

ICE May Visit Your Company or University Campus – a Quick Checklist and Guidance

Lately, ICE has been more active in making arrests of undocumented individuals. Statistically however, the number of arrests are very small and the “bark” is much bigger than the “bite.” Nonetheless, it is helpful for employers and other stakeholders to know what the required protocols and duties are if ICE shows up, employee rights, and bystander rights. Below is a quick checklist to help you along with important guidance.

Major Points

  • Immigration is a civil matter, not criminal. The majority of ICE warrants are administrative civil warrants.
  • ICE priorities are arresting those with criminal convictions and those who have been previously ordered removed (absconders). ICE may pursue these activities in public areas.
  • Anybody arrested by ICE has the right to counsel.
  • ICE agents are federal employees that are working as directed. Nonetheless, it is the policy of most employers that ICE enforcement activities focusing on the personal immigration issues of an individual shall not take place on company property.
  • If an ICE agent does attempt to arrest someone on company property, do not interfere as that will complicate matters. However, please contact your manager and they will coordinate with HR and Legal. Continue Reading

Will U.S. Customs & Border Protection Admit Your Foreign Visitor? How to Avoid that Sunday Evening Phone Call from CBP

It’s 9:30 pm on a Sunday and you just got a call on your cell from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”) at LAX. A Vice President from one of your foreign offices has been spending a lot of time here lately developing business leads and strategy. CBP is holding him in secondary inspection and he’s been there for 12 hours. Even though he’s paid overseas, CBP has some questions to ask you to see if he has been “working” here. CBP advises you that they are seriously considering giving him an “expedited removal order” with a 5-year bar on entering the U.S., and putting him on a flight back to Europe tomorrow afternoon. His inability to return to the U.S. would be catastrophic to your business.

The regulations regarding business visitors entering on a B-1 visa or ESTA visa waiver are vague. There is no bright line test for when someone is “working here” versus “having meetings and consultations”. However, there are ways to improve your odds that you will not be flagged and challenged by CBP. Continue Reading

NAFTA Agreement Reached at the Eleventh Hour

A tripartite agreement to save NAFTA has been reached. The agreement, reached late last night, provides Congress the necessary 60 days’ notice of the text to approve so that President Pena Nieto of Mexico can sign before he leaves office on November 30th. All three countries wanted to get a deal done before the change of government in Mexico to President – Elect Lopez Obrador.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the accord would be renamed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”). The USMCA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which dates to 1994 and covers $1.2 trillion in trade. The revised trade agreement addresses wide areas of the economy, ranging from patents and financial services to farming and auto manufacturing. Continue Reading

Cuba-U.S. Relations: The Rapprochement Slows Down Under The Trump Administration

Soon after Fidel Castro overthrew the government of Cuba to found a communist state in 1959, Cuba began nationalizing U.S-owned properties in Cuba. In response, the U.S. implemented trade restrictions, closed its embassy in Havana, broke official diplomatic relations with Cuba, and attempted to overthrow the Cuban government. The U.S. also declared a trade embargo on Cuba in 1960, which severely hampered the Cuban economy over the course of the next half-century. Continue Reading

NAFTA Update

The 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs announced today, and effective 15 days from now, raise a new cloud over the NAFTA negotiations. Although they temporarily exempt Canada and Mexico, the Administration has made it clear that the tariffs are still a prospect for Canada and Mexico if they do not make concessions on NAFTA. The Canadian and Mexican negotiators have rejected this linkage. Continue Reading

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