Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has signed a bill formalizing the implementation of important amendments to the Mexican Constitution that primarily cover telecommunications, media and antitrust.

The adoption of these constitutional amendments has been widely heralded as extremely positive, even in the absence of the implementing legislation. The constitutional amendments are already in effect, having become effective on the day following their publication in the Official Gazette on June 12, 2013. 

The New Antitrust Law (Ley Federal de Competencia Economica), part of this implementing legislation, will be in place soon. In February, President Peña Nieto submitted to the Mexican Congress a draft bill to enact new implementing legislation that would replace the 21-year-old Federal Economic Competition Law. 

The New Antitrust Law has been passed by both houses of Congress and was signed by President Peña Nieto on May 22, 2014 and published the following day in the Official Gazette.  The New Antitrust Law becomes effective on July 7, 2014 (45 calendar days after its publication in the Official Gazette) and will supersede the Economic Competition Law.

The New Antitrust Law aims to revamp the structure of the antitrust regulator and update Mexican antitrust regulations by adopting OECD practices and standards, as well as tracking and satisfying the mandates of the constitutional amendments.

As highlighted below, the law:

  • creates two regulators with broad new powers
  • implements a new regulatory regime for general antitrust matters
  • implements a special framework for antitrust matters related to telecommunications and media and
  • creates specialized courts to resolve antitrust and concentration matters.

This entirely new framework should be carefully analyzed by investors in structuring their Mexico-related M&A transactions and managing their existing operations.

Companies operating in the Mexican market will need to revisit their management processes, consider adopting and monitoring new business practices, and adopt revised codes of conduct addressing the do’s and don’ts of proper competitive behavior.

Key features of the New Antitrust Law are:

Click here to view table.