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The Special Economic Zones for which funding was announced yesterday. The Special Economic Zones for which funding was announced yesterday.

50 billion pesos allocated to encourage investment in economic zones

With new decrees, all seven zones are now in place

President Enrique Peña Nieto announced a 50-billion-peso (almost US $2.8 billion) government stimulus package yesterday to attract investment to Mexico’s seven Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

The president also signed decrees to create the final two SEZs of the current project, one in Campeche and another in the neighboring state of Tabasco.

They join zones that are already operational in Puerto Chiapas, Coatzacoalcos, Lázaro Cárdenas-La Unión, Progreso and Salina Cruz.

Speaking in the Campeche port city of Seybaplaya, Peña Nieto said that Mexico’s development bank has established a fund to encourage investment in the seven SEZs, all of which were created during his administration.

“. . . [For] the entire private sector and all the companies that decide to invest in these seven Special Economic Zones, [there will be] a 50-billion-peso financial package to support their productive activity,” he said.

In addition, companies will enjoy a zero tax rate for 10 years as well as other financial benefits.

Peña Nieto described the generous tax concession as “perhaps” the most important component of the financial incentive package, adding that “it will guarantee that companies and investment go to these states where otherwise they would be unlikely to do so.”

In December, the president predicted that the five SEZs that had then been designated would attract investment of 700 billion pesos (US $38.7 million) over the next 10 to 15 years.

Beyond attracting both Mexican and foreign investment, the establishment of the SEZs seeks to generate well-paid jobs, strengthen existing value chains and create new ones, increase exports, lift productivity and improve the quality of life of the people living in the areas.

The areas will feature a differentiated customs system, a flexible regulatory framework and competitive infrastructure.

The director of the federal agency overseeing the development of the zones said the proclamation of the final two SEZs and Peña Nieto’s funding announcement meant that the first round of objectives had been achieved.

“We have concluded [the first] stage, dedicated to underpinning the platform for investment and the institutional framework of the project . . .” Gerardo Gutiérrez Candiani said, adding that attention would now turn to consolidating investment and implementing each zone’s master plan.

The official also said that the SEZ project “responds to our most pressing challenges” and assured that their future is guaranteed.

Source: El Economista (sp)

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