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Mexican Officials Detail Governments Plan To Privatize Its Ports

On March 14 in Dallas, eight officials and experts in Mexico's Port Privatization Program participated in the Second Annual Privatization Summit: Opportunities in Mexico's Ports Sector. Sponsored by The Mexican Port Authority, The Mexican Investment Board and the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, the day-long conference attracted more than 200 top business leaders from the U.S. and abroad, providing a platform for the Mexican government to describe in detail its new initiative to privatize the country's ports.

The conference provided a broad overview of Mexico's Port Privatization Program, followed by a detailed description of specific contracts - all delivered by the Mexican government officials directly responsible for the projects. The three primary goals of the conference were to help the Mexican government remove any obstacles to an open and efficient privatization of the country's ports; to provide detailed information on the specific opportunities available to foreign investors in this area; and to create a dialogue between key U.S. executives and the appropriate Mexican officials and business leaders from the ports sector.

During the last six years, the Salinas Administration has modernized 18 principal ports, through which 80 percent of the country's imports and exports pass. The Mexican government intends to completely restructure the country's ports system, decentralize The Mexican Port Authority and privatize all of its ports. The Mexican government recently enacted new legislation, The Law of Ports, which redefines the State's role in the running of the country's ports. The legislation also creates private authority corporations, known as "Integrated Ports Administrations" (APIs), which will be charged with the administration functions including planning, promotion and the construction of infrastructure.

Mexico's port terminals and installations will be leased on a long term basis to the highest bidder through international public tenders. Foreign capital will be limited to 49 percent in the APIs, but may reach 100 percent in all other port investments.

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