St. Mary's Law Journal


After two decades of restrictive policies regarding foreign involvement, Mexico is transforming its legal and regulatory structure. The progression of foreign investment, technology transfer, and industrial property laws and regulations is revealing. The significance of the overhaul of the industrial property and technology transfer framework in Mexico is evident considering the historical context in which it developed. With these reforms in place, Mexico significantly improved the conditions for placing U.S. franchises across the border. Mexico decreased tariff rates, eliminated import licenses for numerous products, and divested over half of the businesses previously owned or operated by the state. It also tempered restrictions on foreign investment, increased protection of industrial property, and abolished impediments to the transfer of technology.

Part II of this Article addresses Mexico’s approach to foreign investment in its economy over a period of approximately seventy years, concluding with the 1989 regulatory enactments by President Salinas. Part III deals specifically with the gradual implementation of restrictions on the transfer of technology and the limitations on industrial property protections. The resulting web of regulations implemented over the years was torn down by the 1991 industrial property law, the specifications of which are discussed in part IV. Concluding remarks are made in part V. The recent initiatives President Salinas took are testimony to the economic transformation underway in Mexico. There is no need to wait on the full realization of a NAFTA. With the reforms the Salinas Administration made, Mexico made itself a more inviting destination for U.S. investors. A corresponding increase in the level of foreign activity in the country shows no signs of reversal. The walls surrounding the business opportunities in Mexico are rapidly disintegrating and, for the well positioned business, the time for expansion is now.


St. Mary's University School of Law