Two-way trade

Photo courtesy of Butzel Long

Butzel Long attorney represents business clients in Mexico and USA

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Six million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico – including 175,000 Michigan jobs.

“One in every 24 American workers depend on trade with Mexico to maintain their employment,” explains Raul Rangel, a corporate attorney with Butzel Long.

“Mexican companies are now industry leaders in at least four areas of the U.S. market – cement, breads and baked goods, tortillas, and milk and dairy products.  Consumers may be surprised to learn that brands they are familiar with, like Entenmanns, Sara Lee, Thomas English Muffins, Boboli Pizza Crust, Borden Milk, Weight Watchers Yogurt, Mission Tortillas, Ready-Mix Cement, Tracfone cell phones, and even The New York Times, are supported by Mexican investment—as are the U.S. jobs those companies provide.”

Licensed to practice law in New York and in Mexico, Rangel works closely with other Butzel attorneys to represent organizations doing business in Mexico and the United States in a broad range of industries.    
Although his home base is Washington, D.C., he works closely with Butzel Long attorneys in the Detroit office.

“I enjoy my Butzel Long colleagues, who are hardworking, with an easy demeanor, and who have the business acumen and are very diligent with their work,” he says.   

Rangel’s work involves business law, international trade, investment and commerce, and business-government relations.    

“Nothing is routine, each transaction is different,” he says. “There are virtually an infinite number of considerations that are unique to each transaction and that a skillful lawyer needs to sort through and prioritize for each deal. One day you might find yourself advising a client on the buy side, next day is on the sell side.

“It also allows me to analyze in depth several industries that normally would not interact with each other.”

Rangel notes that Mexico – the second largest destination for U.S. exports and third largest source of imports – is Michigan’s second biggest export market at $12.2 billion.

“Transportation equipment, especially automotive products, is Michigan’s strongest exporting industry to Mexico,” he says.

“The scope of U.S.-Mexican relations is broad and goes beyond diplomatic and official relations,” he adds. “It entails extensive commercial, cultural, and educational ties, with some 1.4 billion dollars of two-way trade and hundreds of thousands of legal border crossings each day.”

Rangel and several Butzel Long colleagues took part in an April 21 automotive summit “Doing Business in the United States: Practical Legal Knowledge For Success,” held in Monterrey, Mexico, and hosted by Butzel Long.

“It was a very productive effort,” he says. “It shows how the Mexican and U.S. economies are more integrated than ever. “Mexican and American companies are facing the need to find synergies in their operations so they may keep up with the fierce competition from around the world,” he adds. “The implementation of these efficiencies also entails the integration of legal services and a very complex dance of two very different judicial systems.”    

According to Rangel, the most difficult challenges facing U.S./Mexico trade relations are the amount of regulations involved when doing business abroad.    

“This usually goes unchecked in the planning process of cross-border transactions,” he explains. “Whether it’s taxes, duties or logistics at the border, there are many factors that if not planned carefully, might disrupt and increase costs, wiping-out synergies.”   

A native of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Rangel earned his law degree from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and a Master of Laws from Northwestern University School of Law. He also holds a certificate in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management and has attended Harvard University and the London School of Economics.   

“My vision is that understanding the motivations from a business perspective, allows me to better assess and address the legal issues at hand,” he says. “I find this to be a value-added advantage.”

He was drawn to study law by trust, a value on which he places the highest priority.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to represent my clients, who trust me in solving their problems – not to mention that the law and its proper application, are the foundation on which prosperous societies are built,” he says.   

Prior to working at Butzel Long, his work encompassed legal issues centered on the implementation of technology systems, regulation analysis of renewable energy projects and antitrust matters. He co-founded RG Nexus, a professional legal and tax advisory services firm in Monterrey, Mexico, focused on issues such as technology law, intellectual property, real estate development, regulation analysis, legal advice for start-ups, and more.

In his leisure time, Rangel is an airplane enthusiast, and also enjoys biking, reading, cooking, and family time with his wife and baby son.

He also collaborates with the Mexican Professional’s Network (MXDC), the DC chapter of the Red Global de Mexicanos of the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME), a nonprofit, non-partisan, inclusive organization that helps expand the personal and professional networks of its members.


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