Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, site of the newest special economic zone. Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, site of the newest special economic zone.

700bn pesos forecast for investment in SEZs

Salina Cruz joins list of areas intended to attract investment

Five special economic zones (SEZs) will attract investment of 700 billion pesos (US $36 billion) over the next 10 to 15 years, President Enrique Peña Nieto predicted yesterday.

During a visit to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca — where he signed a decree to create a new SEZ in the port city — Peña Nieto said the government projection was equivalent to one-sixth of the total federal budget for 2017.

“Over time we will see the effects of this decree. It will take time, it will take several years, but later we’ll stop asking ourselves who planted those trees that today give us shade, that produce oxygen . . . some were small seeds that created robust trunks,” he said.

The president signed decrees for the creation of the zones in Puerto Chiapas, Chiapas; Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán; and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, in September and with the additional designation of Progreso, Yucatán, the total number of SEZs decreed during this administration is now five.

A further two zones could eventually be added to the list.

Peña Nieto said that investment worth US $6.2 billion had already been committed to projects in the five zones.

In accordance with the federal Special Economic Zone Law, the areas will receive a series of tax and labor incentives and have both a differentiated customs system and a flexible regulatory framework.

The director of the federal agency overseeing their development said earlier this month that there would be a zero tax rate in the zones in the first 10 years, making them even more competitive than the United States despite a corporate tax cut north of the border.

Programs to support the development of human capital and innovation will also be implemented.

While conceding that the creation of the zones is not a panacea, Peña Nieto said that they will boost economic development in the south and southeast of the country, a region that includes Mexico’s poorest and most underdeveloped states.

Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat, who accompanied the president in Salina Cruz, said the creation of the SEZs would allow the southeast of the country “to play the role it should have always played.”

Also present was Yucatán Governor Rolando Zapata, who said the decrees to create the new zones was an historic decision that would create new and improved conditions for investment.

The Salina Cruz SEZ will be geared towards the traditional manufacturing industry whereas Progreso will aim to attract new and innovative companies that use more advanced technologies.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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