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U.S. Investors in Mexico

June 02, 1993

In response to "Mexico Justice Often Ensnarls U.S. Investors," May 24:

I think it is important to bear in mind that Mexico is one of the leading countries in attracting investment and trade from the United States.

Our rules are very clear and, with the North American Free Trade Agreement, will become even more so.

As in every country, including the United States, there are a few people who prey on the ignorance and the naivete of inexperienced foreigners. The particular cases mentioned in your article seem to have a common denominator: American "businessmen" trying to circumvent Mexican law and getting caught in the process.

Mexico's laws are very explicit and, in some respects, similar to those prevailing in other trading nations. Products imported to Mexico require certificates of origin and compliance with quality and context regulations. Enforcement may have been spotty until recently, and perhaps, sometimes lax; as Mexico gears up to its trade and investment partnership with the United States and Canada, much more effort and larger resources are going to ensure compliance with the law.

Although some "businessmen" may regret the old days, we are convinced of the need and benefit of high standards; consequently we will rigidly enforce them.

If the people interviewed by The Times had not tried to sidestep or flout Mexican laws restricting foreign land ownership at the border or on our coastlines, they would have not run into the problems that they are now facing. Thousands of foreigners--Americans, Europeans, etc.--all conduct business with Mexico with no trouble at all, in a lawful and open manner.

U.S. exports to Mexico reached $40.6 billion in 1992, while imports from Mexico to the United States were $35 billion. Obviously, the overwhelming majority of those who generate this enormous flow of good and services feel very comfortable doing business in Mexico.

ENRIQUE LOAEZA

Consul General, Los Angeles

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