Mexico delays energy reforms after US voices concerns
Petroleumworld 11 05 2021
Mexico's ruling party on Thursday pushed back its deadline for the approval of controversial energy reforms championed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, after the United States raised concerns.
The bill seeks to strengthen the state-owned electricity provider and roll back the effects of liberalization that the leftist president says favored private companies.
The moves have prompted warnings that Mexico is in danger of violating its trade commitments by favoring state-run entities heavily dependent on fossil fuels.
The US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, tweeted on Wednesday that he had "expressed serious concerns" in a meeting with the Mexican government about the power sector reforms.
"We committed to continuing our dialogue on these critical issues," he added.
Lopez Obrador's Morena party initially set a December deadline for Congress to vote on the reforms, which would ensure that the state controls more than half of the Mexican electricity market.
That has now been pushed back until April, party official Ignacio Mier announced, urging power companies to take part in the debate.
The reforms would also scrap regulatory bodies and move towards a state monopoly in the mining of lithium, a vital component in electric car batteries.
Canada, the third member in a North American trade deal with Mexico and the United States, has also voiced concerns, but Lopez Obrador insists the reforms will not violate the accord.
Political analyst Jose Antonio Crespo suggested the ruling party had extended the deadline because it did not yet have enough supporting votes in Congress.
He said Moreno would try to continue negotiating with opposition parties, mainly the PRI, which ruled Mexico for seven decades until 2000.
"Undoubtedly there will be talks between North Americans and the Mexican government, but also between Morena and the PRI," he told AFP.
Environmentalists see the reforms as a major setback to efforts to switch to renewable energy, although Lopez Obrador has said his government is also working to modernize hydroelectric plants.
By Agence France-Presse
afp.com 11 05 2021