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Chapter 27 or “Anticorruption Chapter” of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”).

One of the new topics of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is the creation of a chapter for the regulation of anti-bribery provisions; chapter or subject that the former trade agreement, that is to say, the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), did not include.

In general terms, with the inclusion of anti-bribery provisions in the USMCA, the three countries that are part of such agreement, look forward to set measures in order to prevent and combat corruption in their investments and trade relations. It is important to mention that the scope of Chapter 27 is limited to measures to prevent and combat corruption in relation to any matter or subject provided in the USMCA.

Although the draft of Chapter 27 -as well as rest of the USMCA content- is under discussion in the congresses of each of the countries involved, the Ministry of Economy (Secretaría de Economía) has announced that the content of such chapter will principally cover the following topics:

(i) The obligation of the parties to maintain or adopt the corresponding measures for the protection of any person who, in good faith and on reasonable grounds, reports to the competent authorities, any facts regarding anti-corruption crimes.

(ii) The obligation of the parties to include or maintain in their legal frameworks, laws that punish the offering or solicitation of undue advantages to the public officials. Within this section, the figure of so-called “embezzlement” is included.

(iii) The obligation of the parties to adopt measures to provide adequate procedures for the training and selection of public officials in positions or jobs that are considered vulnerable to corruption, to promote transparency in public functions, to identify conflict of interests and to facilitate the reporting by public officials of any corrupt acts.

(iv) Commitment of the parties in order to promote enterprises to prohibit facilitation payments, as well as to adopt internal compliance programs.

(v) Strengthening for the cooperation among their respective authorities and to facilitate the exchange of experiences regarding the combat against corruption.

Even though Mexico has a legal framework addressing anti-corruption, it is still not entirely clear, if the Mexican government will have to carry out certain amendments in order to update the legislation in such matter (once USMCA is approved), since among other issues, our legislation does not provide protection for whistleblowers, as the USMCA probably will.

In any case, this Chapter will represent a strengthening for our National Anticorruption System.

In Acedo Santamarina we are ready to assist our clients with anticorruption compliance matters. If you have any questions please contact Andrés Acedo at aacedo@acsan.mx or +52-55-5950-2222.

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