Latin America Practice- March Events

March 10, 2017Rebekah J. Poston, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs, will participate on a panel discussion on Ethical and Compliance Dilemmas Presented in Cuba at the Andrea School of Business at Barry University in Miami Shores. The panel discussion will be part of a day long program titled: “Doing Business in Cuba: Legal, Ethical and Compliance Challenges” hosted by Barry University and the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust. For program information, click here.

March 23-24, 2017Al Cardenas, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs and the Chair of the firm’s Latin America practice, will be speaking at the 1st Expanded Board Meeting by The Latin American Business Council (“CEAL”) that will be held in Antigua, Guatemala. The event is titled: “Macro tendencias Globales y la relación con los Estados Unidos: Oportunidades y Desafíos para un crecimiento inclusive.” For additional information regarding this event, click here.

The Court Rulings That Changed Agency and Distributorship Law in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic National FlagIn the last decade, Dominican Judges have adopted a new interpretation of certain provisions of the Dominican Agency Law 173 of 1966, a law which is considered of public policy and very protective of local agents and distributors. Particularly, the courts’ have changed their interpretation of the law on exclusivity of distribution agreements and competent jurisdiction to hear Law 173 cases.

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US Officials Travel to Mexico City as Part of Ongoing Bilateral Talks

NAFTA MembersOn Wednesday, February 22, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly arrived in Mexico City for a series of meetings with senior Mexican officials, including Foreign Relations Minister Luis Videgaray Caso, Secretary of Government Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, and Secretary of National Defense General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, among others.

During the visit, the two began efforts to coordinate on a wide range of bilateral issues, including counterterrorism, border security, and trade. However, prospects for any breakthrough dimmed after the Trump Administration announced new immigration directives that some worry could greatly increase the number of US deportations of undocumented individuals.  Speaking to manufacturers at the White House later that week, President Trump said he warned Secretary Tillerson the trip would be difficult “because we have to be treated fairly by Mexico.”

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NAFTA: Mexican Trucking Program

Trucks on a HighwayPresident Trump’s plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) may also impact a controversial program that allows Mexican carriers to make long-haul deliveries in the U.S. 

As part of the NAFTA agreement, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to allow trucks from each country to carry goods across the border for deliveries anywhere inside each of their respective countries, but the program faced challenges from the get-go.  In 2007, the George W. Bush Administration launched a trial program to expand Mexico’s trucking operations beyond the border. However, the program ended in 2009 after Congress defunded the program following pressure from labor unions. 

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The Search for Returns on Argentine Renewables

Renewable Energy2017 will be a year of truth for Argentina’s ambitious renewable energy program (“RenovAR”), which launched in 2015 and set a mandatory renewable energy target of 20 percent by the end of 2025, with incremental targets every two years.   In addition to implementing positive reforms in the energy sector, the RenovAR program signifies an effort to overcome the country’s below-investment-grade credit rating, as well as fresh memories of Argentina’s sovereign default in 2001 and the bevy of protracted investor disputes that ensued.  To this end, the program incorporates features such as government-sponsored project financing, guarantees supported by multilateral institutions, fiscal incentives, and put options allowing project owners to short-circuit dispute resolution procedures in the event of key default scenarios.

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U.S. and Latin America Trade: Who could be affected by a shift in U.S. Trade Policies?

Political South America MapTrade policy has been at the top of President Donald Trump’s agenda since he began his campaign for the U.S. presidency.  Last month, he signed an Executive Order officially withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, a megaregional trade deal between the United States and eleven trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region.  President Trump’s actions effectively terminated the TPP deal, but only mark the beginning of a broader shift in U.S. trade policy that is expected to follow. 

President Trump’s trade policy priorities also include renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), prioritizing bilateral trade deals, and reexamining other existing trade agreements that he believes have not sufficiently benefited U.S. businesses and workers.  The new administration’s free trade platform has left many Latin American countries wondering whether their trade agreements with the U.S. are next on the list. It is also prompting countries to refocus their own trade policies and pursue new trade opportunities, as evidenced Peru’s newly-commenced talks with India and Mexico’s plans to accelerate trade talks with the European Union.

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President Trump Withdraws US from Trans-Pacific Partnership; Action on NAFTA Renegotiation Expected

TTIP agreement written on signpost in mountains. Negotiations concept. Withdrawal concept.

On Monday, January 23, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum formally withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, following up on one of his biggest campaign promises.

The memorandum directs the U.S. Trade Representative to notify the other TPP parties and the Depository of the TPP that the United States will be withdrawing its signature from the agreement and exiting from the broader negotiating process.  President Trump also pledges that his administration will work with individual countries to negotiate bilateral trade deals in the future, and he directs the U.S. Trade Representative “to begin pursuing, wherever possible, bilateral trade negotiations to promote American industry, protect American workers, and raise American wages.” 

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Latin America Practice- Upcoming Events

January 31, 2017Paula A. Galhardo, Of Counsel at Squire Patton Boggs and a member of the firm’s Brazil Desk, will serve as a panelist discussing the topic of “The Spillovers from Operation Car Wash: What Are and How to Assess the Effects Brazil’s Crisis Is Having on your Risk and Compliance Efforts in Latin America” at the ACI’s 11th Houston Forum on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

February 1, 2017Alvaro J. Mestre, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs and Chair of the firm’s Mexico Desk, will participate on a panel discussion on LNG and Power Markets in Latin America hosted by Squire Patton Boggs and Poten & Partners.

February 8, 2017Al Cardenas, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs and the Chair of the firm’s Latin America practice, will be speaking at the Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean’s Liberal Renaissance hosted by the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

February 8, 2017Paula A. Galhardo, Of Counsel at Squire Patton Boggs, will serve as a moderator at the Houston Bar Association’s International Law Section Brazil Round Table luncheon discussing “Opportunities and Challenges in Doing Business in Brazil (Despite Scandals).”

For additional information regarding any of these events, please visit our Events page.


Strengthening Anti-Corruption Reform in Peru

Hand Rejecting MoneyDuring his political campaign, the newly elected President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski promised to tackle corruption arguing that it was one of the most important impediments to investment and growth in Peru. Using special legislative powers granted by Congress as a quick mechanism for the enactment of planned reforms, Kuczynski and his administration have already enacted 112 legislative decrees, including a number of significant anti-corruption measures.[1]

One significant measure geared towards the prevention of corrupt activities bars entities convicted of corruption from participating in government contracts.[2] Another measure created a body called the Autoridad Nacional de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información Pública (National Authority for Transparency and Access to Public Information), which, as its name suggests, is meant to increase government transparency and public access to information.[3] Also included in the reforms is the widely-publicized and long-touted “civil death” law, which precludes government officials convicted of corruption from employment in the public sector.[4]  The reforms are also intended to strengthen the independence and autonomy of prosecuting authorities, augment corporate liability for acts of corruption, and foster a culture of reporting corruption-related offenses.[5]

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Chile Expects That Strong Foreign Investment Interest In Energy Sector Will Continue Despite Challenges

solar-energyThis month, the National Energy Commission of Chile (CNE) is scheduled to hold a new power auction, creating competition for the supply of 4.200 GWh of annual power – more than the originally planned 3.800 GWh.

Chile’s most recent power auction made global headline news this past August by attracting 84 participants and resulting in a world record low price of US$29.1/MWh for the Granja Solar project in Chile’s Tarapaca region. The average awarded price in that auction was $47.59/MWh – a reduction of 63 percent from the average price per MWh in 2013 and 40 percent from the average price in 2014.

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