A new Federal Economic Competition Law recently approved by the Mexican Congress is to become effective on July 7, 2014. The new law comes after an amendment to Article 28 of the Mexican federal constitution, which bans monopolies and monopolistic practices and seeks to strengthen competition in Mexico.

Following is a brief description of some of the main areas of the new law.

An autonomous body will be in charge of investigation proceedings. By doing this, the new law creates a mechanism to guarantee independence of the commissioners in their decision-making process.

A new internal comptroller body will be in charge of reviewing the liabilities of the public officers working in the Competition Commission, among other things. In addition, new guidelines will seek to prevent ex parte contact with commissioners and set the grounds for hearings, among other things.

The new law includes a process that aims to resolve competence conflicts between the Competition Commission and the Federal Telecommunication Institute, the two main Mexican competition agencies. The Competition Commission has authority to issue regulations and criteria.

Two new conducts have been included in the list of relative monopolistic practices: (i) the narrowing of margins, and (ii) denial or restriction of "essential" raw materials or supplies. A procedure has been created to determine and regulate the existence of "essential" raw materials, and the Commission will have powers to divest or break down assets.

In connection with the merger control thresholds, the new law allows use of domestic (as opposed to worldwide) turnover or assets for transactions involving two or more entities in the acquisition of additional assets or stock in Mexico. This change is likely to reduce the number of transactions that require a merger control notice based partially on the size of the participants to a transaction.

It will no longer be possible to close a transaction without clearance from the Commission (or the expiration of the applicable waiting period). The regular waiting period has been extended to 60 business days.

Finally, decisions of the Commission will be challengeable only through amparo indirecto proceedings (judicial review).

The full text in Spanish of the new competition law can be consulted here.

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