Raymundo Enríquez
National Managing Partner
Baker McKenzie
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View from the Top

Mexico is More Than Just One Project

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 15:55

Q: What is Baker McKenzie’s take on Mexico’s business opportunities and the firm’s role going forward?

A: A phrase that fits very nicely with the vision we have at Baker McKenzie is that change is inevitable but growth is optional. The fourth transformation announced by the new presidential administration implies a change in the way things will be done and the way the government and private sector interact. That is why Baker McKenzie is the firm for this moment. Our vision is to help our clients navigate a world that is becoming more complex. 
It is undeniable that Mexico’s interaction with the world will also have to change. The renegotiation of NAFTA, now known as USMCA, was a wake-up call for Mexico as a country and for everyone in the private sector to diversify our contacts and to lessen our focus on the US. That is the main challenge: to diversify our market and our sources of investment. The new presidential administration has a social focus with significant projects in this regard that will need a great deal of foreign and national investment. For us, this means an opportunity to help all these potential clients take advantage of the prospects that will present themselves. We see this new presidential administration as an opportunity, not a threat. 

Q: Why is Baker McKenzie the best firm to help companies navigate the evolving Mexican market?

A: We offer several differentiators but I would like to highlight our global structure. We have been operating for over 60 years with 77 offices in 47 countries, including Latin America, where we have the broadest international presence in the region’s largest seven economies. In Mexico, we offer significant coverage through our five offices. In addition to our global structure, we focus on two pillars: our clients and our talent. When it comes to our clients, we are making an effort to get closer to them and better understand the industries in which they operate. Regarding our internal talent, we are constantly training our collaborators. We have incorporated innovative platforms that allow our people to develop professionally and personally, based on excellence in a diverse environment. 
On a global level, we are incorporating innovation to make our business more efficient. In 2017, the firm began including AI technology and elements of Design Thinking in its processes. This has permitted the automation of many processes, making them rapid and efficient, and allowed us to apply our lawyers’ talent to more specific problems. 

Q: How would you qualify the government’s cancelation of NAIM and its impact on investor confidence?

A: It is important to remember that an investment project, regardless of how important it is for the country, should not define Mexico’s risk. I believe the airport consultation was not optimally conducted. As a consequence, it generated a great deal of doubt. But in the end, Mexico is more than just one project and I think that the new government will comply with all its obligations and will honor all the contracts that were awarded. We need to put matters in the right perspective.  

Q: What opportunities do you see for the new administration to continue boosting Mexico’s economic competitiveness?

A: For many years, monopolies negatively impacted Mexico’s competitiveness. However, the Economic Competition Reform enacted by President Peña Nieto was extremely important, since it gave the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) the tools to regulate the market. The reform not only empowered COFECE but also gave it independence from political swings. As a result, COFECE has been able to do an extraordinary job. One area where COFECE has done good work is in showing people that the beneficiaries of the reform have not been big corporations but the consumer. At the end of the day, regular people reap the benefits of competition, since it entails better prices for all of us. We are starting to see the benefits of this reform, particularly in the telecoms sector.  It is important to note and applaud that the new USMCA includes a specific chapter on economic competition, with specific obligations for each country. I have no doubt that the new administration will continue reinforcing this area.