Posted in Financial Services Incentives Puerto Rico Tax tax exemptions

Tax incentives in Puerto Rico: a quick introduction: Handbook

To promote, attract and develop key industries, sectors and activities, Puerto Rico offers a spectrum of economic incentives, among them low fixed income tax rates, partial and/or total tax exemptions, income tax credits and special deductions.

The manufacturing, tourism, construction, telecoms, export services, renewable energy, film, banking and financial services industries are among the sectors that may enjoy the benefits provided under Puerto Rico’s incentives laws.

DLA Piper’s new handbook Tax Incentives in Puerto Rico: A Quick Introduction aims to help businesses understand this broad array of incentives. In it, we provide an overview of ten of the most significant of these tax incentives – and, for each area, we take a quick look at the legislative groundwork, the process of applying for an incentive and the nature of the available incentives.

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Posted in Brazil Intellectual Property

INPI publishes Normative Instruction establishing new procedures for the registration of computer programs || INPI edita Instrução Normativa estabelecendo novos procedimentos para registro de programas de computador

See below for Portuguese

The National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) has published Normative Instruction (NI) No. 71/2017, establishing new procedures for the submission of computer program registrations.

The NI 71/2017 was created in order to serve as a transition between the current (physical) model and the new electronic system, which is expected to be implemented in the upcoming months, replacing the former paper deposit procedure. Continue Reading

Posted in bid contracts bidding Brazil Energy Oil and Gas privatization

New Rules for Bidding Rounds of Production Sharing Agreements – Regulation of Petrobras’ Priority Rights

Brazil’s Decree No. 9,041/2017, which is now in force, regulates Law No. 13,365/2016, which changed the current criteria for investments and operations in the Brazilian pre-salt areas.

Such alterations came at a critical moment and it is expected that they will help to attract foreign investments. The Brazilian government recently authorized and defined the areas which will be the subject of the next bidding rounds to be held by the National Agency of Oil, Natural Gas and Biofules (ANP), among them the pre-salt areas, to be offered during the Second and Third Bidding Rounds for the Production Sharing Regime, scheduled to occur in October 2017.

As a matter of introduction, in summary, before the alterations introduced by Law 13,365/2016, Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras, the Brazilian national oil company, would necessarily be the operator, holding a minimum stake of 30 percent in any consortium formed with oil companies that win the public bid proceedings for the pre-salt and strategic areas, upon the execution of production Sharing agreements, with the ANP.

With the aforementioned alterations, Petrobras no longer has the obligation to act as the operator. Accordingly, although Petrobras will always be granted a “right of first refusal” to hold a 30 percent stake and/or to be the operator in the pre-salt and strategic areas’ developments, it will no longer be obligated to do so.

In this regard, the Decree provides the rules and definitions that shall be applied for the execution of such preference by Petrobras, being:

(i) Petrobras shall manifest its interest in participate as the operator of the offered areas, within 30 days counted from the publication of the National Energy Policy Council’s (CNPE) resolution establishing the technical and economic parameters of the blocks offered under the production sharing regime. For the Second and Third Bidding Rounds for the Production Sharing Regime, said resolutions were published on May 04, 2017 and April 27, 2017, respectively.

(ii) The aforementioned manifestation shall include the blocks and the participation percentage intended by Petrobras, which cannot be lower than 30 percent.

(iii) The CNPE will then propose to the Brazilian President the blocks which shall be operated by Petrobras, indicating its participation in the consortium to be formed, which may range between 30 percent and the percentage indicated by the latter.

The Decree also provides that in case Petrobras exercises its preferential rights, after the conclusion of the bidding round’s judgment phase, it must join the winning consortium as the operator, in case said winning consortium offered to the Brazilian Union the minimum percentage of profit oil previously specified in the tender rules. On the other hand, Petrobras will have the option to join the winning consortium, in case such winning consortium offers to the Brazilian Union a percentage of profit oil superior to the one previously specified in the tender rules. In the latter case, the winning consortium must indicate for ANP’s approval the operator and the percentages of participation of each of its parties.

Finally, it should be noted that if Petrobras opts not to exercise its preferential rights, it may than participate in the bid round, but in equal conditions with the other participants, having the option to do so as a party of a consortium or alone.

In any event, considering the high potential of the areas to be offered during the next pre-salt bidding rounds, massive participation byf international oil companies is expected , either in a consortium operated by Petrobras or independently.

Decree No. 9,041/2017 was published and came into force on May 2.

 

Authors: David L. Meiler and Bárbara Bittencourt – Campos Mello Advogados

David Meiler

Partner 
T +55 21 3262 3006
david.meiler@cmalaw.com
Rio de Janeiro

 

Bárbara N.Bittencourt

Associate 
T +55 21 2217 2070 
barbara.bittencourt@cmalaw.com 
Rio de Janeiro

Posted in Argentina Governance Lobbying Politics

New Draft Bill on Lobbying Activities in Argentina

Guest Post by By Richards, Cardinal, Tützer, Zabala & Zaefferer

In furtherance of President Mauricio Macri’s public statements about the need to increase transparency in the public sector in Argentina, the Executive Branch has submitted to Congress a draft bill that seeks to regulate lobbying (“gestión de intereses”) and its publicity in any office of the federal state. The law’s enforcement authority will be the Federal Agency for the Access to Public Information.

The draft bill, released in April, is has three pillars: integrity (transparency in the public decision-making process), equality of treatment (all persons soliciting contact about the same matter deserve equal treatment by public officers) and public disclosure of governmental actions (because access to information about government actions is crucial for citizens’ understanding and control of the processes).

Management of interests or lobbying is defined in the draft bill as any activity aiming to influence the decision-making process of a person who exercises a public function in favor of its own or of an alien interest. The lobbying may be remunerated or gratuitous, habitual or occasional, planned or incidental. A manager of interests or lobbyist is the person who habitually or occasionally exercises such defined activity.

The scope of the draft bill comprises, inter alia, handling and decisions in administrative files, draft bills or any other regulations, goods and services procurement proceedings, drafting and implementation of public policies and procedures for the grant of the senate’s consent.

However, meetings requested by physical persons in private matters (unless they involve material economic interests that may involve the public interest); employment interviews; meetings involving those seeking technical advice; and meetings solicited by foreign public officers in the exercise of their official functions and by diplomats of foreign states in their official functions are excluded from the definition of lobbying activity.

The draft bill applies to the following subjects, among others:

  1. Congress: representatives (deputies) and senators; public officers at the director level and above; deputies’ and senators’ advisors; president and general auditor of the Federal General Audit Office; ombudsman and its deputies; and the penitentiary attorney.
  2. Executive Branch: President and Vice President, Chief of Staff of Cabinet of Ministers, ministers and secretaries with ministerial rank; secretaries, undersecretaries and general directors; their direct advisors; public officers with rank similar to those indicated in this paragraph; highest public officers in decentralized entities and public utilities’ regulatory agencies; ambassadors or similar public officers; the federal general syndic and deputies of the Federal General Syndics Office.
  3.  Judiciary and Attorney General Office: judges, secretaries and officers with similar rank or hierarchy; members of the Judiciary Council and the Judiciary Impeachment Tribunal.

Each of these shall maintain a Registry of Hearings of Management of Interests in which they must record, at a minimum, the location of a meeting, or if held remotely, its date and time; the full names of the hearing’s solicitors and of those who attended it; the name or corporate name of the person whose interests were represented or, if collective, of the various interests that were represented; and a brief or minutes setting out the content of the hearing. When there is more than one petitioner about the same matter, each shall be treated equally. Such registry shall be considered public information; hence, each office shall be bound to update the registry and upload it to the Internet.

Those failing to comply with the law shall be punished pursuant to applicable disciplinary (administrative), civil or criminal law.

If passed, this draft will represent an important stepping stone toward greater transparency and public oversight of the activities of public offices in the three branches of the Argentine state.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact the authors at Richards, Cardinal, Tutzer, Zabala & Zaefferer s.c. –Abogados-, an independent law firm in Argentina, www.rctzz.com.ar

 

Please contact the authors for more information camarero@rctzz.com.ar, or navarro@rctzz.com.ar.

 

Hernán D. Camarero, Partner in Richards, Cardinal, Tutzer, Zabala & Zaefferer’s Corporate/M&A, Banking & Finance practices

Damián Navarro, Partner in Richards, Cardinal, Tutzer, Zabala & Zaefferer’s Administrative Law/Regulatory practice

 

Posted in Brazil Intellectual Property

Battle of the feds: end of the conflict between INPI and ANVISA on the registration of pharmaceutical product Patents

After 15 years, the feds have finally decided to unlock the system.

In order to address certain amendments and add-ons to Law No. 9,276/96, the so-called Intellectual Property Law, in 2001 Brazil’s National Congress promulgated Federal Law No. 10,196.

Despite appointing several technical and procedural parameters related to the National Industrial Property Institute (INPI), this law also brought an interesting – and controversial – legislative approach to the economic regulation of the pharmaceutical market, since it bonded the concession of patens in this sector to “prior consent” from the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA”).

The law did not answer two key questions: “What is an “ANVISA’s prior consent?” and “Which parameters and procedures should be used for granting an ANVISA’s prior consent?”  This set up what can only be described as the battle of the feds – a conflict between ANVISA and INPI over registration of pharmaceutical product patents.

At the beginning of the battle of the feds, INPI took the position that “under no circumstance” could ANVISA assess and/or review patentability requirements, since it is not a competent governmental body regarding those requirements. On the other hand, ANVISA has affirmed that the scrutiny of the subject matter for granting of “prior consent” would include reassessment of patentability requirements, in addition to other factors established by current health legislation.

By mid-2008, the regulatory controversy over the subject matter was well established; since then, numerous jurisdictional conflicts have been argued before the agencies involved, and several lawsuits have been filed arguing that ANVISA’s position corrupted the system structured in Brazil by the Intellectual Property Law.

Now, after 15 years of interagency conflict, the casualties of the battle have mounted: 30,000 patent applications are pending for analysis, and the ramifications of the conflict, in terms of intangible liability, are even greater.

Delay in granting a patent automatically extends the start of the protection countdown. As an example, generic medicines do not enter the market as quickly as the already established pharmaceuticals; thus, access to the generic pharmaceutical product becomes more expensive. Moreover, although many patent applications have not yet been evaluated, pharmaceutical companies act as if their products are already protected, raising their prices and further discouraging other companies in the industry from developing similar formulas.

From a practical standpoint, this has created the same circumstance that occur in other countries under “pay for delay,” but without the benefits for manufacturers of generic drugs and SUS. Worse, this “patent extension” situation has resulted in losses of BRL2 billion to SUS so far.

Note that the practice of “pay for delay” is not even allowed in Brazil.

Both the healthcare and industrial property sectors have suffered the consequences of this long-term conflict – but it appears that the battle will soon draw to a close.

On April 12, 2017, INPI and ANVISA announced that they have agreed on parameters and procedures that will be used to analyze patent applications for pharmaceutical products and their proceedings. They have signed a Joint Ordinance on this matter that will be published in the coming days.

The agencies have also agreed that the regulatory bodies will establish an Inter-institutional Commission, in which representatives from both agencies will participate, with the objective of promoting the exchange of technical information and the harmonization of processes. Their goal: to end the ongoing battle over subject matter.

The regulatory model encourages the technical discretion of the regulators, besides making it clear that prior consent does not authorize, in the performance of tasks of ANVISA, the assessment of aspects unrelated to public health. The patentability requirements, in turn, remain fully established as INPI’s own competence. That is, ANVISA will certainly play an important role during the analysis of the patentability of a pharmaceutical product, but when it comes to registration, INPI will have the final word.

The applicant will therefore be responsible for filing a patent application in accordance with the conditions established by INPI, but without contradicting ANVISA’s economic and political aspirations in the field of public health.

One day soon, for the pharmaceutical sector, the battles of the feds will be in the past.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact the authors at Campos Mello Advogados, an independent law firm in Brazil

for further information at terence.trennpohl@cmalaw.com, paula.menabarreto@cmalaw.com, or bruna.rocha@cmalaw.com.

Terence Trennepohl, Partner in Campos Mello Advogados’ Life Sciences practice

Paula Mena Barreto, Partner in Campos Mello Advogados’ Intellectual Property practice

Bruna Rocha, Associate in Campos Mello Advogados’ Life Sciences practice

 

 

Posted in Brazil COSIT Insurance Reinsurance Tax

Taxation and Reinsurance in Brazil: Regulatory Update

COSIT CONSULTATION RESPONSE 62/2017

The following are comments to the effects of COSIT Consultation Response No. 62, published on 20 January 2017, which the General Office to Coordinate Taxation (“COSIT”) of the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service (“RFB”) expressed its position on the tax regime applicable to reinsurance companies operating in Brazil.

Portuguese language is below.

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Posted in Brazil Insolvency Insurance Reinsurance

Insurance Update: Brazil Federal Regional Court

BRAZILIAN FEDERAL REGIONAL COURT: IMPORTATION AND COFINS-IMPORTATION APPLIES TO (RE)INSURANCE BUSINESS

By Campos Mello Advogados, an independent law firm in Brazil in Cooperation with DLA Piper

 

The Brazilian Federal Regional Court recently unanimously decided that insurance policies and reinsurance agreements are equivalent to rendering of services; therefore PIS-importation and COFINS-importation (PIS/COFINS-importation) applies to premiums remitted abroad. Pursuant to Law No. 10.865/2004, PIS-importation and COFINS-importation applies to the remittance of amounts abroad as consideration for services rendered. The basis for calculation of these taxes is 15 percent over (re)insurance premiums remitted abroad.

The lawsuit, brought against an insurance company and a local reinsurer, debates whether social contributions PIS/COFINS-importation applies on premium of reinsurance remitted abroad. Continue Reading

Posted in Brazil Real Estate

New Bill Proposal – Public Offering of Hotel Units || Projeto Regulador de Oferta Pública de Projetos Hoteleiros

 Analysis by Campos Mello Advogados in Brazil (in cooperation with DLA Piper)

For more information, please contact Lynn Cadwalader (US).

The Brazilian Securities Exchange Commission (Comissão de Valores Mobiliários – CVM) has submitted for public comment a proposal for a new ruling (Instrução Normativa) (the CVM Bill) − aiming to regulate the public offering of hotel-related collective investment contracts (Hotel CICs).

A Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (“CVM”), por meio do Edital de Audiência Pública SDM Nº 08/16, submeteu à audiência pública minuta de instrução (“Minuta de Instrução”) dispondo sobre a oferta pública de distribuição de contratos de investimento coletivo hoteleiro (“CIC Hoteleiro”)

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Posted in Incentives Tax tax exemptions transfer pricing

New transfer pricing requirements in Latin America under BEPS

This publication first appeared as a Latin America Alert on www.dlapiper.com.

Several countries in Latin America have established new transfer pricing documentation obligations associated with the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative.

In this new year, Mexico, Colombia and Peru have included in their local legislation new documentation requirements that follow a three-tiered approach: country-by-country (CbC) report, master file, and local file. These requirements are based on the revised Chapter V of the OECD’s Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administration.  Below is a summary of those requirements.

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Posted in Financial Services Offshore Real Estate Tax uruguay

Uruguay Fully Aligns with OECD Standards: Tax Transparency Law Enacted

The following is a guest post from Bergstein Abogados, Montevideo, Uruguay

Over the last few years, Uruguay has fully aligned with OECD standards. For example, Uruguay has entered into more than 10 tax information exchange agreements and more than 15 double taxation agreements. Uruguay became a member of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs, signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Uruguay, and also agreed to start the automatic exchange of information in September 2018.

In this context, on December 29, 2016, Uruguayan Parliament passed the Tax Transparency Act. Continue Reading

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