Issue #
February 2016

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Decree for the Promotion of the Strategic Duty-Free Area

February 24, 2016

On February 4, the Decree for the promotion of strategic duty-free areas was published, in addition to the regime for strategic duty-free areas (Decree), by means of which various benefits are established for Mexican strategic duty-free areas in order to promote their creation and operation. Currently, only 12 strategic duty-free areas exist. The Decree came into effect on February 5, 2016, and it establishes the following benefits for taxpayers who obtain authorization to place merchandise in strategic duty-free areas: (i) tax incentives for such taxpayers; (ii) reduced customs duty rates; and (iii) administrative facilitation, including among others, importation by means of any customs office, special time frames for importation of machinery and equipment, correction of the country of origin in customs declarations and preferential rates of importation tax. Finally, the Decree makes the process for designating real property as a strategic duty-free area more flexible.

Mexican Standard on Labor Equality and Anti-Discrimination, by Javier Zapata

February 24, 2016

Mexican Standard NMX-R-025-SCFI-2015 on Labor Equality and Anti-Discrimination (Standard) was published mid last year. It was the result of the joint efforts of the Department of Labor and Social Provision (“STPS”), the National Institute of Women (Inmujeres) and the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (Conapred). Despite the efforts of various institutions over more than a decade, various forms of discrimination persist in the labor arena, the same which represent obstacles for the full enjoyment of human and labor rights. According to studies by the International Labor Organization (“ILO”), the wage gap between men and women in Mexico is between 15% and 20%. Furthermore, there are currently employers that consciously or unconsciously permit discriminatory practices in the following areas, among others: job offers, personnel recruitment and selection processes, and promotion policies.

The Standard is not mandatory as are Mexican Official Standards. It is a mechanism that may be used voluntarily to certify workplaces that prove implementation and compliance of processes and practices that are conducive to labor equality and inclusion. The Standard sets forth a point system to obtain the certificate. Among all the requirements, there are five that are deemed critical: (i) a labor equality and non-discrimination policy; (ii) a committee that coordinates efforts and oversees compliance; (iii) a recruiting and hiring process that is free of discrimination and affords equal opportunity; (iv) perform an internal audit; and (v) gauge the work environment through a perception poll. There are also non-critical but important requirements such as, to guarantee wage equality, utilize inclusive language, workplace accessibility and a training and sensitizing program on labor equality and non-discrimination, among others.

The Standard sets forth five critical requirements, as well as measures of leveling, inclusion and affirmative action, the same which include having 40% of workers of one gender, having 40% of women in management positions, having 5% of personnel with different abilities, having an Ombudsman and conducting events focused on promoting equality. If the workplace complies with the requirements set forth in the Standard and, additionally, affirmative actions are implemented, then, of the 4 existing levels, a higher level of certification can be attained.

Based on the Federal Constitutional amendments of June 2011 and the amendment to the Federal Labor Law in November 2012, the courts in Mexico have issued resolutions of transcendence in which they have ruled based on perspectives of gender, on human rights, equality and antidiscrimination, as well as based on international agreements that supersede the Mexican federal laws. Independently of the fact that the Standard is not obligatory, it does set the tone for ensuring compliance with international agreements and standards, as well as for maintaining a favorable work environment that fosters the development of people.

If you would like to know more about the requirements and process for certification, please contact one of our labor experts.

Sources of information and disclaimer: The following sources of information, among others, have been used in preparing this document: Official Journal of the Federation, the Bank of Mexico, Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Department of Finance and Public Credit. The CCN MéxicoReport ™ does not constitute legal or tax advice and should not be used for purposes other than as purely informative for the general public. For more information on the CCN MéxicoReport ™, any of the issues mentioned therein or to inquire about legal services, please contact Robert M. Barnett ( or Mario Melgar (, phone (210) 222-1642.

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