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COFECE files constitutional controversy

On June 22, 2020, the Federal Economic Competition Commission (“COFECE” as per initials in Spanish) issued a statement informing that COFECE filed before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (“SCJN” as per initials in Spanish), a constitutional controversy against the Agreement the Policy of Reliability, Security, Continuity and Quality in the National Electric System, issued by the Ministry of Energy, which was published in the Federal Official Gazette on May 15, 2020 (“SENER Agreement“).

The foregoing, for considering that it undermines the fundamental principles of competition and free market access ordered in the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, affecting its constitutional mandate and braching its sphere of competence.

COFECE considers that the aforementioned policy is contrary to the content of articles 16, 28 and 133 of the Constitution, as well as to the applicable laws on electricity, which together establish a competition regime in the generation and supply of electricity. Likewise, COFECE expressly states:

The instrument published in the DOF seriously affects the economic structure of the electricity sector, as it eliminates any possibility of its operating in conditions of competition and efficiency, as well as under the terms set forth in the current national regulatory framework for this sector. Hence, the contested Policy compromises both the open and non-discriminatory access to transmission and distribution networks (an essential input in this industry), as well as the economic dispatch criterion that governs the operation of the wholesale electricity market; furthermore, it grants advantages in favor of certain participants while reducing the ability of others to compete, forefits efficiency and establishes barriers to entry in electricity generation.”

It remains to wait for the SCJN to rule on the constitutional controversy filed by COFECE. Particularly, regarding the scope of the SENER AGREEMENT, issued by such government agency, apparently in excess of its powers and invading the powers of COFECE itself, to the detriment of consumers.

It should be clarified that, from the legal point of view, a constitutional dispute is a constitutional control mechanism, in the form of a trial, to settle disputes. In this case, between an autonomous constitutional body and the Executive Branch, having effects the resolution issued by the SCJN only between SENER and COFECE.

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Required notice to RFC of partners and shareholders

According to Article 27 of the Federal Tax Code (Código Fiscal de la Federación, “FTC”), legal entities with a tax address in Mexico are required to file a notice in the Federal Taxpayer Registry (Registro Federal de Contribuyentes, “RFC”) providing the name and RFC code of the partners or shareholders every time any modification is made in the capital stock of the company.

The foregoing seeks that the Mexican Tax Administration (Servicio de Administración Tributaria, “SAT”) obtains information to know in real time the shareholding structure of legal entities, with the data of their partners or shareholders.  Mainly, if they are registered in the RFC and, subsequently, to know the modifications and additions of those, so that it has updated such information.

In accordance with Miscellaneous Tax Resolution 2.4.19, in force for fiscal year 2020, the notice must be presented within 30 business days of the capital stock being modified and be made through the electronic portal of the SAT, in accordance with procedure 295/CFF.

In accordance with transitory article Forty-Six of the Miscellaneous Tax Resolution, in force for the fiscal year 2020, legal entities that currently have out-of-date information on partners or shareholders in the RFC must file the aforementioned notice on or prior to June 30, 2020, providing current information as of that date.

In accordance to the FTC, failure to file the notice of capital update or to file it late, unless it is filed spontaneously, is sanctioned with a fine.  It could also lead to other negative tax consequences.

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Legislative proposal to create INMECOB

By: Mauricio Arciniega

Last Wednesday, June 10th of this year, Senator Ricardo Monreal, member and leader of the Morena Parliamentary Group, presented before the Permanent Commission of the Congress of the Union a legislative proposal to amend articles 27 and 28 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States. With this proposal it is envisaged to create the National Institute of Markets and Competition for Well-Being “INMECOB” by its initials in Spanish, as an autonomous constitutional body with legal personality, technical, operational and management autonomy. The legislative proposal aims to reduce public expenditure.

With the creation of the INMECOB, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (“IFT”), the Federal Anti-Trust Commission (“COFECE”) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (“CRE”) would become extinct, with the aspiration of integrating these regulatory bodies and thus establishing the only one in the area of Anti-Trust and in the Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Energy sectors, without the CRE’s hydrocarbon faculties becoming part of the INMECOB.

However, Senator Monreal announced last Sunday on social media that he will postpone the legislative process of this proposal in order to start a process of evaluation and discussion of it. It is important to point out that, if the Legislative proposal is approved in the current terms, there would be a budget and personnel reduction, affecting the technical and specialized functions developed by the IFT, the COFECE and the CRE, natural monopolies indispensable to the economy. Furthermore, it would not be in line with the Chapter 18 requirement of the USMCA, which is to have an independent telecommunications regulatory body, so, among other reasons, the Legislative proposal could be expected to have a direct impact on investment in our country.

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Measures announced by the SCJN for its activities from june 1 to 30

In accordance with General Agreements 3/2020, 6/2020 and 7/2020 issued during March and April 2020, the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice (“SCJN”), decided to announce certain measures for mitigating risks related to the COVID-19 disease, including the declaration as non-working days from March 18 to May 31, 2020.

On May 26, 2020, the Plenary of the SCJN issued General Agreement 10/2020, which extends the suspension of jurisdictional activities until June 30, 2020, in the understanding that during such period terms will not elapse, however, the days and hours that may be necessary for the development of the activities with the purposes mentioned below, will be enabled electronically or remotely:

a) Provide on the suspensions requested in urgent constitutional controversies and the judicial actions necessary for the effectiveness of such measures.

b) To present the initial writs within the competence of the SCJN only electronically, using the FIREL or e.firma, and to generate the corresponding electronic files.

c) Continue with the electronic processing of matters regulated in the Amparo Act, constitutional controversies, unconstitutional actions in which laws of annual validity or, electoral regulations, have been challenged, and the appeals filed in those means of constitutional control settled before the SCJN, or the appeals filed against urgent constitutional controversies presented since March 18, 2020, that go beyond the matter of suspension, through the use of FIREL or e.firma.

d) To digitize the documentation and to integrate the electronic files for the matters mentioned in subsection c) above, to continue its processing electronically.

e) Provide through electronic means the matters mentioned in sub-sections b) to d), and for notifications to be effected by writing or electronic list, as appropriate, as well as electronically.

f) To effect the service of process ordered in the proceedings initiated electronically since June 1st, 2020, and by writing to the respective authorities the orders that admit “amparo under review” remedies filed before or after the date herein mentioned.

g) To hold remote hearings and appearances.

h) To provide on the matters listed or that may be listed for the sessions the Plenary or Chambers of the SCJN may hold remotely; to announce the decisions taken in those sessions by writing or electronic means; to sign electronically the relevant additions and votes; and to make available the drafts of the resolutions through electronic means.

i) To notify the legislative bodies, the judgments issued by the Plenary of the SCJN, in unconstitutional actions or constitutional controversies, should the effects of the declaration of invalidity are subject to such notification.

j) To conclude the completion of the matters decided before March 18, 2020, by the Plenary and Chambers of the SCJN, to sign them electronically and to notify them by writing or through electronic sign.

The deadlines for submission of requirements ordered during the month of June 2020, and for filling appeals electronically against such requirements, will restart or begin only for the party that files his submission electronically. In the case of orders admitting “amparo under review” remedies, the period for its challenge will start from the date of the effectiveness of the notification made by writing or electronic list.

The measures above mentioned intend that the SCJN carry out its activities during June with the necessary precautions to face the SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic.

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