President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the Federal Law on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the state of Michoacán.

Structural reforms have allowed Mexico to have a stronger platform to promote its development. However, additional efforts are required to harness this strength in the most backward regions of the country,

“Mexico obviously remains a country of contrasts,  where prosperity and marginalization, progress and backwardness coexist. There is a Mexico that compete and wins in the global economy, with growing income, development and welfare levels.

But there is also a Mexico that has been left behind, which has failed to exploit its productive potential and suffers unacceptable social deprivation in the 21st century.”

Realizing this situation, on November 27, 2014, the president presented an agenda of measures to strengthen the rule of law and a proposal to create Special Economic Zones in Mexico, particularly in the south.

Two out of three people living in extreme poverty are to be found in the 10 states of the south-southeast of this country. Addressing this problem will require an extraordinary effort to coordinate the actions by the different levels of government, as well as the private and social sectors.

What are SEZ?

Worldwide, Special Economic Zones are geographic areas with a high productive potential, offering an exceptional business environment to attract investment and generate quality jobs on the basis of incentives, facilities and infrastructure development.

The goal is to develop regional value chains, expand local public services and provide benefits for both SEZ populations and neighboring communities.

They include:

Port Lázaro Cárdenas, including the neighboring municipalities of Michoacán and Guerrero and the Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, with hubs such as Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Salina Cruz, Oaxaca; and Puerto Chiapas in Chiapas.

Contributions of the SEZ Federal Law

  • It establishes closer monitoring by Congress, since the Legislative Branch will annually analyze the reports on the Zones and the impact on their respective areas of influence; it will also be able to submit recommendations.
  • It empowers the Superior Audit Office to audit the public resources to be spent on the Zones; and CONEVAL to evaluate social actions.
  • It consolidates the Coordination Agreements and Development Programs, and strengthens the Single Window scheme for all government procedures.
  • It strengthens the Single Window scheme for all government procedures.

Immediate actions

Eight actions will immediately be implement in the Special Economic Zones include the creation of a Decentralized Agency of the Finance Secretariat, in charge of the implementation phase of the SEZ.

This body will have regulation, planning and promotion functions in accordance with best international practices.

"The indications and deadlines are clear. The purpose is quite specific:  by 2018 at the latest, at least one 'anchor' firm will be set up in each of the Special Economic Zones.