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See ya in Mexico.

The World Trade Organization's roundtable in Cancun, Mexico last year, marred by protest, was seen as a failure. Despite the bad press, Mexico hopes the event marked the beginning of heavier business travel. The Mexican government says the country hosted 28 major conventions in 2003, a number tourism officials hope to double by 2006. To meet that goal, Mexico's Congress approved a law eliminating value-added taxes applied to foreigners organizing events held within the country. That means savings of 15%. "Conferences were heading to Brazil and Argentina and we had wanted to grab part of that market," says Eduardo Chaillo, executive director of the Mexican government's office of congresses and conventions. The number of international visitors arriving in Mexico slipped 6% in 2003, when compared with 2002. Brazil, on the other hand, saw an 8% increase during the same period. The new Lax break aims to reverse Mexico's slide. The new measure applies to all international business expenses, such as rooms, food, drinks and transportation incurred within 48 hours before or after the meeting. Foreign businesses must only work with Mexican event planners and must finance their meetings with foreign credit, Chaillo says. Chile was the first country to scrap such taxes.

For event planners such as the British EuroFinance, which caters to the financial community, the tax break won't matter much. "We are going to do conferences in Mexico in any event, regardless of value-added Lax laws," says Amy Johnson, an event manager at EuroFinance.
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Title Annotation:Radar; Conferences
Author:Guevara, Michelle
Publication:Latin Trade
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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