The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) in collaboration with several border business unions created the Binational Business Coalition to push for a change in recent laws passed in Mexico that could negatively affect trade between the United States and Mexico, affecting companies on both sides of the border.
Last July, the Mexican states of Tabasco and Oaxaca banned the sale of sugary drinks and highly processed foods to those under 18 years of age, citing COVID-19 as the main reason and to put a brake on obesity among other risks for the Health. Currently, 23 other state governments are considering similar legislation to create bans in these industries.
The Business Coalition said that these initiatives harm investor confidence in Mexico and other Latin American markets and at the same time, contravene the spirit of the new United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“The USHCC, along with members of our coalition, opposes any law that hurts business members and postpones our economic recovery,” said Ramiro A. Cavazos, president and CEO of the USHCC.
“As we move forward in the global economy amid COVID-19, we need to work together to promote policies that provide fluidity and encourage trade, job creation, and allow all industries to take full advantage of trade agreements like the USMCA. ”Cavazos added.
Retailers in Tabasco and Oaxaca are prohibited from selling or promoting processed snacks such as candy, potato chips, and soft drinks to minors under 18, placing those products in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes.
Young people who wish to buy one of the prohibited items must be accompanied by their parents. Store employees who do not comply with the new policy will be subject to penalties including fines and possible jail time.
The ban also applies to vending machines located in schools.
In a press release, the USHCC said that, along with its partners in the Binational Business Coalition, they urge collaboration between Mexican government officials, especially the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economy.
The new Binational Business Coalition is made up of:
- Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce
- Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Border Plex Alliance (El Paso, TX, Cd. Juárez, CH, Las Cruces, NM)
- El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce
- Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC)
- Texas Border Coalition
- Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership
- United States Mexico Chamber of Commerce
“Together we must safeguard the free flow of trade and binational commerce created through the recent implementation of the USMCA. We are in favor of initiatives that promote economic stability and facilitate the expansion of foreign investment across all industries, ”said the USHCC.
The Business Coalition expressed its support for partners in the food and beverage industry in the United States, Mexico, and Latin America and seeks that through dialogue they can identify initiatives that solve the challenges of all countries and economies during these times of pandemic.
“State governments cannot stop thriving business sectors while stalling a crucial economic stimulus for Mexico where the business community has already been hit hard by COVID-19. This type of legislation will harm our business members and their respective partners that operate internationally,” Cavazos concluded.