Mexico’s lower house votes to loosen ban on foreigners owning land on coasts, borders
MEXICO CITY — The lower house of Mexico’s congress voted Tuesday to loosen longstanding restrictions on foreigners buying property along the coast and the nation’s borders, a proposal that drew stiff criticism from some quarters.
The measure, which passed 356-119 in the Chamber of Deputies, still needs approval from the Senate and a majority of the country’s 32 state legislatures to become law.
ANZAC Day, Midwest flooding, Boston Marathon victims cope with injuries, memorial for slain MIT officer and more.
South Korea’s withdrawal from the Kaesong Industrial Complex follows a blockade by the North.
In political ads for Pakistan’s May 11 election, slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto takes on new life.
Israel says they tracked drone flying south from Lebanon for an hour before they shot it down.
Prime minister appeals for calm following three days of violence that has left 150 dead nationwide.
For decades, foreigners have had to use real-estate trusts or Mexican front companies to buy beachfront properties, because Article 27 of the constitution prohibits non-Mexicans from directly owning land within 31 miles (50 kilometers) of the coast and 62 miles (100 kilometers) of the nation’s borders. The trusts and front companies have provided a lucrative income for banks, lawyers and notaries who are required to operate them, and the extensive paperwork has discouraged many foreigners from buying.
The change, sponsored by Congressman Manlio Fabio Beltrones of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, would allow foreigners to directly buy ocean-front property for residential use, but not for commercial projects.
Such proposals have been made before, but not by figures as influential as Beltrones, the PRI’s congressional leader.
“This is about eliminating the middlemen who, through trusts, corporations and front men, have made a living off the constitutional ban,” Beltrones’ office said when he submitted the bill earlier this month. “It is a question of encouraging tourism investment and creating local jobs.”
The Union of Indians and the Farmers’ Force, a farmworkers group, criticized the proposal Tuesday, saying it would “give free rein to foreigners to legally buy up the best land, and encourage robbery and financial and real estate speculation.”
“This would result in the foreign colonization of the country,” the groups said in a statement.
Those are strong sentiments in a country frequently invaded by foreign powers in the 19th and early 20th century. Mexico set up the restrictions to ensure national security and avoid the creation of foreign enclaves like the one that grew up in a former Mexican province known as Texas, where the foreigners eventually rebelled and split from Mexico.
“For historical reasons, it was considered risky to allow foreigners to establish themselves permanently on the coast and the borders,” according to Beltrones’ proposal, but it says “the conditions that led the Constitution to limit such purchases have been overcome.”
Arguing for the change Tuesday, Beltrones said, “Apart from ensuring legal certainty over property rights, this would financially benefit the coastal town government, given that it would make tax payments, like property taxes, easier to collect.”
Kevin Graham, a Texan who runs the Costa Maya Living real estate firm in the Caribbean beach town of Mahahual, said some potential buyers are put off by the prospect of not being able to hold direct title to beach properties.
“I feel, with all the doubts they have, it’s slowed the market down for foreign investment here,” he said.
Federico Estevez, a political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, also cited the benefits to foreign investment by simplifying ownership for foreigners.
“This is to bring the law up to date, because basically it’s going on anyway, but with all these foul distortions of having to pay people off,” he said.
Noting that Mexico has been seeking more foreign investors, Estevez added: “You want their money, keep them here.
Mexico Leap Frogs to #1 Place to Invest in the World
WAKE UP! INVEST NOW AND GET WORLD CLASS GLOBAL RETURNS ON INVESTMENT
Mexico is # 14 on the GDP rankings of world economies as posted by the United Nations, IMF, CIA Factbook and the World Bank and moving up fast. Expects to be # 5 by 2030
Everyone around the world is looking and asking “Where do we invest?” and “Where the next big thing?”. Well, it’s Mexico! Now, although it’s a long way from becoming the next China, the growth of the Mexico economy and the manufacturing activity in the region have global companies and investors taking a very close and serious look at the USA’s largest neighbor. Check it out….
Four years ago, according to a report from T. Rowe Price, Mexico was dealing with a series of troubling conditions: a drug war, widespread poverty and political corruption that led the U.S. government to suggest the country was at risk of becoming a “failed economy.” However, things have changed significantly.
“Mexico’s recent success started with a flurry of free-trade deals it signed,” the report cites. “Partly as a result of these deals, an increasing number of multinationals have set up shop in the country to capitalize on its inexpensive labor and proximity to the United States.”
Although it took some time, it appears Mexico has been the biggest winner from the North American Free Trade Agreement over Canada and the United States, and over the years expanded to include other countries. Mexico now has 12 free-trade agreements involving 44 countries.
The manufacturing expansion in Mexico has benefited from conditions in China, where the labor cost equation is moving in Mexico’s favor.
“In 2000, Mexican factory workers earned more than four times as much as Chinese workers. Due in large part to China’s double-digit wage increases in recent years, by 2010, Mexican workers earned only 1.5 times as much,” said Michelle Gibley, director of international research at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.
And the Boston Consulting Group estimates by 2015 the fully loaded cost of hiring Chinese workers may be 25 percent more than hiring Mexico workers.
Another factor favoring Mexico is “near-shoring,” manufacturing products to be exported to regional neighbors, in particular, the United States.
“Near-shoring has helped Mexico’s manufacturing sector, helping to grow the country’s market share in goods that are expensive to ship because of their bulk or weight, such as televisions, major household appliances and automobiles. Furthermore, we expect U.S. demand for cars to remain strong,” said Schwab’s Gibley.
One product, medical devices, has become a big part of the manufacturing activity in Tijuana. Ossur, a global leader in orthopedic products based in Iceland, established a manufacturing facility in Tijuana and has announced plans to significantly expand the operation.
According to the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, more than 40 medical device companies have operations in the city, hiring more than 31,000 workers, claiming “more manufacturing workers than any other city in North America.”
After years of discussing the geographical links between San Diego and Tijuana, a concerted effort is under way to pool resources to seize the opportunity for international trade.
Plaza Andares, a new city commerce centre in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
“San Diego and Tijuana are naturally positioned as a hub for global business, travel and idea sharing,” said Mark Cafferty, CEO and president of the San Diego Economic Development Corporation. “There really is no place like this in the world from a business development perspective, and I think you’re going to see more businesses locate and expand here because of all that’s available to them on both sides of the border.”
To take this to the next step, a partnership between six economic development organizations on both sides of the border is being established.
The Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region, also known as CaliBaja, “is designed to step up our collective economic development profile by coordinating our marketing and communications around CaliBaja as a pre-eminent place for high-value business investments. With the recent trend toward near-shoring, this makes Baja a much more valuable player,” said Christina Luhn, executive director of the mega-region initiative.
The opportunities in Mexico have not been ignored by Wall Street. The Mexico Fund, a closed-end mutual fund investing in companies based in the region, has participated in the recent rally. The shares had dropped as low as $11 in February 2009, the depths of the recession. In trading last week the shares had more than tripled to more than $38.
This is not your fathers Mexico….time to take a whole new look at the truly Modern coming global powerhouse that is Mexico.
Feeding The Perception
For years now the World Media has been feeding a negative perception about Mexico. The Movies, the TV shows, the National TV news networks and printed media have portrayed Mexico as a war zone and as a country living in poverty. Perception is the truth as we know it. Thus feeding a negative perception of Mexico and Baja, Mexico creates in the minds of the world a reality that is far from the truth. Sensationalizing the negative even though it might only represent a very small percent of the overall creates ratings and drives the content. Thus feeding the perception with the overall reality does also over time make an impact. Slowly more and more positive articles are being written and reported and are having a positive effect. My wife Cathie and I are representatives of the 1 million US citizens who live in Mexico whom share a different reality of what it is like living in Mexico. I have been attempting to feed the true perception of life in Mexico from the perspective of one who visited Mexico for 30 years but discovered after living here full time an entirely different reality portrayed by the World Media.
Google has become the benchmark for researching all subjects via the International Web. If you Google " perception of Baja, Mexico " you will find consistently in the top 5 of my previous articles referring to the Perception of Baja, Mexico presented by the World Media. Many local people have dedicated their maximum efforts to change this perception to reflect the true overall reality.
The Rosario Beach Hotel has been very successful promoting and hosting local events that draw thousands of tourists to help many who used to come but were fearful to come. A significant increase in tourism has been achieved. There has also been an increase in the Baja Real Estate.
Tijuana Innavadora 2012 in October has once again pulled business and political leaders from both sides of the border to promote through the media the growth and technological contribution Tijuana and Baja has provided internationally. With astounding growth in the local and national economy, a growing middle class, improvements in infrastructure such a better roads, a new World Trade Center, numerous new modern upscale shopping centers, ultramodern office buildings, the availability of state of the art technology, a ultramodern Children's Museum, a resurgence of construction in Ocean View condos, an expanded and modernized Border entry into Mexico and most important a major reduction in crime.
Baja is a combination of extreme diversity. In many ways it's like the US 50 years ago., when you got your gas pumped by a uniformed attendant who also checks your oil, your air in your tires, when you drive down the scenic highway smelling locals burning their trash, seeing family members riding in the back of pickups, seeing families camping on the beach, when watching a current movie in an ultra modern theatre with double the leg room at one forth the price and where being friendly and respectful to strangers is common not odd.
The further south you travel, you will not only experience a vast change in scenery as well as a slower pace in lifestyle. If you talk to people who live here, especially for the past 10 to 30 years, you will hear the same story of the reality of what it is like to live in Mexico with a desire to make a positive difference not change it. Their account will be extremely in contrast of what the World Media feeds the public the perception of Baja, Mexico. The long term outlook of quality of life in Mexico is very positive. Value is described the combination of quality at a lower price. If you add less stress to the equation you can expect to live life longer with better quality of life at a lower cost in Baja, Mexico.