A building permit has been issued for the Dragon Mart project in the Caribbean resort city of Cancun and construction is expected to begin in October, with completion of the facility expected in about 16 months, Real Estate Dragon Mart company president Juan Carlos Lopez said.

Real Estate Dragon Mart plans to invest $180 million in the trade mart, which will have exhibition space, warehouses and 380 hectares (938 acres) of conservation lands, Lopez said.

The Quintana Roo state supreme court ordered officials in the city of Benito Juarez, where Cancun is located, to issue building permits to Dragon Mart's developers.

The state's high court ruled last month in favor of Real Estate Dragon Mart, stating that the developers should get the permits because city officials failed to respond to their request for the documents within the 45 working days required by law.

The permitting process was officially concluded on Monday.

The project is opposed by a number of different groups, including Mexican businesses, who fear the project will lead to unfair competition from Chinese manufacturers.

The Concamin business association said last week that Dragon Mart would promote the importation of "underpriced Chinese products" and lead to unfair trade, posing a threat to domestic industry.

"The law has been followed, what it says is that Mexico is a country of institutions and there is confidence in private investment," Lopez said.

A company from the city of Benito Juarez has been hired to build phase one of the project and it will recruit workers locally, Lopez said.

"We feel strongly that Mexican labor is of high quality and very reliable," Lopez said.

The Dragon Mart project, which is designed to promote Chinese trade with Mexico and Central America, was launched in 2011.

Dragon Mart, whose initial phase is expected to cost $180 million, is designed to be an exhibition center for merchandise from China, providing an opportunity for companies from the Asian nation to make contacts in Mexico and Central America.

Real Estate Dragon Mart is 45 percent owned by Carlos Castillo, with Monterrey Cancun Mart holding a 45 percent interest and Chinamex Middle Investment & Trade Promotion Center owning a 10 percent stake. EFE