Since the end of 2007, Mexico has participated in various meetings with other countries including the United States ofAmerica, Canada, Japan, countries within the European Union, Switzerland and New Zealand in order to reach aninternational agreement to combat the production and sale of counterfeit and pirated goods known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or ACTA, by its initials in English. After six rounds of negotiations, the parties agreed thata seventh session will take place this month in Mexico, in order to discuss issues such as digital commerce, border issuesand observance of civil legal standards. The ACTA seeks to increase international cooperation, establish best practices andprovide a legal framework for better and more effective combating of the production and sale of counterfeit and piratedgoods. With its efforts, Mexico reinforces its commitment to protect intellectual property rights, which benefits both foreigninvestors and domestic consumers of goods and services. Other forums in which Mexico has actively participated in orderto promote the protection of international intellectual property rights include the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation(APEC) group, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), theOrganization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) and the Alliance for the Security and Prosperity of NorthAmerica (ASPAN).
The National Commission of Minimum Wages published and approved new general minimum and special wages that willbe in force in Mexico as of January 1, 2010. The increase is 4.85% across the three geographic zones that divide thecountry. The minimum general daily salary for each zone in 2010 is as follows: Zone"A", which includes municipalities inBaja California and Baja California Sur, the Federal District and various other municipalities, $54.80 pesos; Zone "B",which includes various municipalities in Jalisco, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, $53.26 pesos and Zone "C" comprised ofmunicipalities in the states of Aguascalientes, Estado de Mexico, Sonora and Veracruz, among others, at $51.95 pesos. Inaddition, the Commission established special minimum wages for certain professions, offices and jobs, with an averageincrease of 4.85%. It is worth noting that this increase is mandatory only so far as it refers to minimum wages. Increases innon-minimum salaries depend on the individual negotiations between employers and employees or unions, as the case maybe, based on the specific conditions of each workplace. Notwithstanding the above, the increase in minimum salaries hasalways served as a basis for negotiating increases in other salary levels.
On September 10, 2009 important amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure for the Federal District were published in theOfficial Journal of the Federation, which is the largest jurisdiction for such matters in Mexico. With this reform, the timeperiods to file appeals against final judgments have been extended from nine to 12 working days, and the time period forappealing interlocutory rulings or immediately effective sentences has been extended from six to eight working days. Thetime period to answer lawsuits in civil and mortgage executory proceedings has been extended from nine to 15 workingdays. An important amendment includes the ability of litigants to provide legal notice to counterparts by means ofelectronic mail, in addition to the other forms of personal notice authorized previously, following the new guidelinesestablished by the Federal Judicial Council (Consejo de la Judicatura Federal) as part of the steps that have been taken toconsolidate the functioning of "virtual tribunals". Finally, it is hoped that this reform will have a positive impact, given thatit should resolve previous open issues regarding secured transactions and bank accounts, since the reform providesexpressly that liens arising from civil executive proceedings may be effective as against assets or bank accounts of thedefendant party from the time the lien or encumbrance is created. This means that one may seek a lien over a general classof property, which before had been limited by judges who would not allow general liens against assets and bank accounts.The new reform also allows the encumbrance of legal and negotiable instruments, even when such have not been presentedin their original forms. The reform includes a special chapter relating to so-called Lawsuits for Peace (Juicios de Paz) which will now take place in an oral format, so long as the amount in dispute is less than $212,460 pesos (approximately $16,500 dollars).
The Second Chamber of Mexico's Supreme Court published in the Judicial Weekly of the Federation case decision number2a./J.150/2009, the title of which reads "Half Hour Rest Breaks in the Workday to Continue as Set forth in Article 63 of theFederal Labor Law. Treating such according to reduced work days is inapplicable." In its decision the Court establishes thatthe half hour rest break provided in article 63 of Mexico´s Federal Labor Law, for cases involving a full continuousworkday, continues to exist in order to avoid excessive fatigue of the employee while providing labor during the day whensuch workday continues for the maximum permissible time allowed under law. As such, as a general rule, when anemployee works a reduced work schedule that is understood to be a time period less than the legal time period allowed, theintermediate rest break shall be considered unnecessary and not legally required. The above applies given that in a reducedworkday, the workplace risks are decreased or eliminated, and such mandatory rest break is not justified. On the contrary,according to the court it would be extreme to suppose that a half hour rest break should be required in a work day lastingtwo or three hours, which would be in conflict with the equilibrium sought in Mexican labor rules and article 2 of theFederal Labor Law. Notwithstanding the above, the Supreme Court signaled that the general rule could have exceptionssince the current law provides for the possibility of establishing shorter maximum workdays, in accordance with the natureof the work, which could be extremely taxing physically or mentally on an employee, requiring each case to be reviewedindividually in order to determine the necessity of said rest breaks during the workday.