May 14, 2020 / 1:29 AM / 15 days ago

Canada's First Majestic uses NAFTA arbitration provisions in Mexican tax dispute

May 13 (Reuters) - First Majestic Silver Corp said on Wednesday it served notice to the Mexican government under North American Free Trade Agreement provisions to begin negotiations to resolve disputes over how the silver producer is taxed in the country.

The company said it initiated the NAFTA arbitration process against Mexico after its unsuccessful attempts to resolve the matter through local bodies.

The notice initiates a 90-day process for Mexico to enter into negotiations with the company, First Majestic said in a statement.

The company alleges that the Mexican tax authority has "exhibited a total disregard for the applicable provisions of three separate double taxation treaties" that are relevant to the company and its Mexican units, including the Primero Mining business bought two years ago.

The tax authority, Servicio de Administracion Tributaria (SAT), did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Vancouver-based company, which owns several mines in Mexico, said in its latest annual report bit.ly/3cxOs11 that its business was dependent on its operations in Mexico.

The company said it had tried to resolve its differences through local bodies and that some of those proceedings had not yet been resolved. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the other remaining Mexican courts are unavailable for hearings. (Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Daina Solomon in Mexico City; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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