This is a summary of certain aspects of the Emergency Economic Law Nº 25,561, published in the Official Bulletin on January 7. The law will have a great impact on the Argentine economy as it deals with a large number of issues relating to the exchange rate, financial sector, public or utility services, private contracts, labour law, consumer protection and other areas. Certain implementing regulations relating to the emergency law have been already published, but some others are still pending issue by the Federal Executive Power (PEN) and the Central Bank (BCRA).
In accordance with the law dated December 27 2001 (“the Act”), the Uruguayan congress has put an end to 70 years of State monopoly - exercised by the State-owned oil company, ANCAP - over the importation, refinery and exportation of crude oil, and over the exportation of oil-derived products (“the Monopoly”).
The Paraguayan National Secretariat for State Reform (SNRE) has opened the public bid for the sale of up to 100 per cent of CORPOSANA, the public water and sewerage utilities company. The public bid will consist of five stages: delivery of pre-qualification conditions; presentation of documents and selection of pre-qualified companies; delivery of the public bid conditions; presentation of tender offers; and, finally, adjudication.
On December 28 2001, the Venezuelan national assembly approved yet another income tax law (the previous one having been published in the Official Gazette on November 9 2001). The law incorporates new and detailed rules on transfer pricing, changes to the dividend tax and inflation adjustment rules.
Round four of the invitation to bid promoted by the Brazilian Petroleum Agency (ANP)’s Special Invitation to Bid Commission for the contracting of oil and natural gas exploration, development and production activities will be the largest held to date, with 54 Blocks (15 onshore and 39 offshore) distributed in 18 sedimentary bases. The contest will be by block.
A bill was presented before the Mexican senate on December 4 2001 proposing the amendment of Articles 27 and 28 of the Constitution, laying the groundwork for future private investment, both Mexican and foreign, in electricity generation and distribution in Mexico. The review and debate of this bill was contingent upon the enactment of the tax legislative package, which only occurred at the very beginning of 2002.
On December 5 2001, the Brazilian House of Representatives voted on and approved an amendment to the Federal Constitution regarding the equity holding of foreign capital in Brazilian broadcasting and press companies, and other measures. This amendment will be discussed and voted on by the Senate before its official enactment.
The Mexican Supreme Court of Justice has recently deemed article 172-H of the Law of Federal Dues to be unconstitutional. The provision of the article obliges railroad companies to pay a duty on registration of their equipment, liens, tariffs, internal regulations, insurance contracts, etc, with the Mexican Railroad Registry.
Global energy company Mirant Corporation has completed the sale of its entire interest in Chilean electricity generator Empresa Eléctrica del Norte Grande S.A. (Edelnor) at the very end of 2001.
Brazilian law firm Pinheiro Neto Advogados and the Mayer Brown & Platt and Dewey Ballantine LLP of the United States have acted on a US$450 million securitisation deal for Banco do Brasil. The transaction involved Banco do Brasil’s right to receive, as depository, funds related to payment orders to be generated by Banco do Brasil through its New York branch and correspondent banks where Banco do Brasil maintains bank accounts.