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In recent weeks we saw Canada, Mexico and the United States present their respective positions and legal arguments, often in sharply worded exchanges, about how the Auto Core Parts rules of origin under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should be interpreted. It is a high-stakes issue because assembly operations for vehicles and their “Core Parts” (engine, transmission, etc.) inevitably involve lengthy bills of materials with components from many countries, and what is being disputed is whether Core Parts once found to meet the USMCA requirements to be “originating” can then have their value counted as originating value (i.e., “rolled up”) in
Continue Reading Does the USMCA Mean What It Says? The Disputes Panel Hearing on the Auto Core Parts Rules of Origin

For employers who need to hire foreign national talent for STEM or other hard-to-fill positions, an important immigration deadline is around the corner.

The electronic H-1B lottery application window starts on March 1 and ends on March 18 at 12 noon EST / 9 am PST. If you desire to have one or more candidates entered into the H-1B lottery, please let immigration counsel know before March 1.
Continue Reading Annual H-1B Visa Lottery Will Open on March 1, 2022

If your company is like many, your board of directors may be demanding that you put more effort into environmental, social, and governance issues, which have become known by the now-ubiquitous acronym “ESG.” Those demands don’t come from nowhere: consumers are demanding transparency and social responsibility. In addition, if your company does business internationally, regulators are now focused on international social justice issues (such as the use of forced labor) more than ever.
Continue Reading Does Your Trade Policy Support Your Company’s Values?

On July 6, 2021 the U.S. State Department publicly announced that the travel ban waivers related to the world-wide pandemic will now be good for 1 year and multiple entry.  The effective date of this new decision is June 29, 2021.  Previously they were only good for 30 days and a single entry.  In addition, those that have received a waiver in the past may now use it for 12 months if it was granted after June 29, 2020.  See: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/extension-validity-for-nies-for-china-iran-brazil-south-africa-schengen-uk-ireland-india.html
Continue Reading NIE’s Now Good for 1 Year, More on Navigating the Travel Ban Jungle: National Interest Exception Checklist for the U.S. COVID Travel Bans

In effect since July 1, 2020, the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”).  Although the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic largely overshadowed the effective date of this new international agreement, its new labor provisions should not go overlooked.  While the USMCA retains most of the NAFTA commitments, it revamped the old agreement in key areas — including labor.  Unlike NAFTA that included some labor commitments in a side agreement, the USMCA provides labor standards in the core text of the agreement (Chapter 23, Labor), making them fully enforceable.

The commitments on labor are not only relevant to
Continue Reading New Labor Obligations Contained In USMCA Present Risks for Covered Employers

On January 2, 2021 the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) became law.  Importantly, the NDAA included sweeping legislative reforms to anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws, which are now codified in the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”) (NDAA §§ 6001-6511). Designed to enhance national security concerns, these AML amendments will significantly impact financial institutions, certain types of businesses—both domestic and foreign, and High Net Worth Individuals (“HNWIs”).  While HNWIs legitimately seek to maintain confidentiality in their corporate entities or wealth management structures, the AMLA will make that more difficult and potentially more dangerous.
Continue Reading The New Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 and Potential Effects on Foreign Businesses and High Net Worth Individuals

The Biden Administration took office on January 20, 2021. Many executive orders have been executed since that date, some of which directly change the manner of handling immigration matters.  However, the U.S. and the world are still dealing with the global pandemic and this directly affects submissions, filings, and consular appointments.  This update provides a list of the latest updates to U.S. visas and immigration matters, as well as what we forecast for the months to come.
Continue Reading Visas and Immigration in 2021 Under the Biden Administration

Over the past few weeks, we have been speculating on the international trends and tides we expect to see in the next four years under a new U.S. presidential administration. So that you can enjoy our prognostications (before our program gets greenlighted as a Netflix special) we provide here:

  • A recording of our webinar, entitled “The Four Years in International Business Webinar
    (for those playing along at home, see if you can spot the part where Scott’s power goes out while we’re discussing tariff reductions!)
  • A bulleted summary of the key takeaways of our webinar.

  • Continue Reading The Next Four Years in International Business

    Since 2005, California employers with 50 or more employees were required to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training every 2 years to each supervisory employee, and to new supervisory employees within 6 months of their assumption of a supervisory position.  However, all employers may not yet know that the California anti-harassment training requirements were significantly expanded by the California legislature (SB 1343 and SB 788 – to read the prior article, click here).  Now, California employers with 5 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training and education by January 1, 2021 to not just supervisory employees, but non-supervisory employees as well. This
    Continue Reading California’s Deadline is Fast Approaching: Employers Must Complete Harassment Prevention Training for English and Spanish-Speaking Workforces by Year’s End

    Following lots of legislative uncertainty, Brazil has now formally enacted the country’s first general data protection law, Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados, or “LGPD.” While administrative sanctions do not go into effect until August 1, 2021, individuals and public prosecutors can now bring claims for losses and damages. Indeed, at least one public civil action has already been filed. LGPD is the first comprehensive general data protection law in Latin America. It was modeled after the EU’s GDPR. While there are many similarities, LGPD does introduce new concepts. Below are some of the key elements to keep in mind.
    Continue Reading Brazil’s Comprehensive Privacy Law Now in Effect

    Hiring employees does not usually call to mind international trade compliance obligations. However, together U.S. export controls and anti-discrimination laws create a web that is overlooked or misunderstood by many types of employers of all sizes across many industries. Anti-discrimination laws prohibit unlawful citizenship status restrictions when hiring, and U.S. export controls prohibit disclosing controlled information to foreign nationals without authorization. Together, these laws limit acceptable job descriptions and hiring practices.
    Continue Reading Export Control HR Pitfalls To Avoid When Hiring

    Relief on Substantial Presence and Treaty Day-Count Tests.

    On May 30th, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2020-20 which provides non-U.S. individuals present in the U.S. some limited relief from the day-count tests for U.S. tax residency and for eligibility for certain treaty benefits.  The relief comes in the form of the “COVID-19 Medical Condition Travel Exception”.  The name of the exception is a misnomer because individuals need not have had any medical condition (including the COVID-19 virus) to claim its benefits.
    Continue Reading IRS Provides Some Relief to Offset COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions

    The US Federal Reserve has confirmed in its Main Street Loans frequently-asked-questions-faqs about the Main Street lending program (the “FAQ”) that US subsidiaries of foreign companies can be eligible borrowers under the various loans available under the program so long as they otherwise meet the other conditions to eligibility for the loans.
    Continue Reading Main Street Loan Program – US Subsidiaries of Foreign Companies Can Apply

    On May 22, 2020, the Mexico Committee of the ABA – Section of International Law published a Special Edition Newsletter regarding the Legal Impact of COVID-19 in Mexico.  As the Co-Chair of the Mexico Committee of the ABA  – Section of International Law,  I worked with the ABA Mexico Committee to get this publication out in a timely manner.  The intention for this special edition is to serve as a resource that provides a general understanding of the legal aspects and impact in Mexico of COVID-19 in each of the areas of law that we covered. 
    Continue Reading Special Edition Newsletter – Legal Impact of COVID-19 in Mexico ABA – Section of International Law – Mexico Committee

    Key Takeaways

  • The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) provides for financial and digital trade regulations that harmonize the treatment of fintech companies.
  • North American companies leveraging digital assets for payments should consider strategic regional opportunities available under the new USMCA fintech Framework.
  • The USMCA Parties (member countries) continue to license fintech companies using cryptocurrency and create regulatory sandboxes to incentivize experimentation with the new technology under relaxed regulatory conditions.

  • Continue Reading The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – Paving the Way for a Cross-Border Fintech Sandbox

    On May 13, 2020, Sheppard Mullin co-sponsored a webinar hosted by the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce involving Mexico’s economic outlook and the impact on the maquiladora industry. Below are some interesting take-aways from the program.
    Economic Outlook
    Sergio Luna, Director of the Department of Economic Research and Chief Economist at Citibanamex, explained that notwithstanding the global recession we are experiencing, the Mexican peso is projected to appreciate towards the end of 2020. However, because it will take time to recover from the recession, the GPD growth for Mexico is projected to be at -9% for 2020 but is expected
    Continue Reading Mexico’s Economic Outlook During and After COVID-19 and the Maquiladora Industry