Kerry: US fully respects Mexican sovereignty on energy reform

Mexico City, Feb 9 (EFE).- The special White House envoy on climate, John Kerry, said Wednesday during his visit to Mexico that the United States “respect(s) completely the sovereignty of Mexico,” speaking about the energy reform being pushed by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“We respect completely the sovereignty of Mexico. I know the president has embarked on some reforms that are important to him and to the country. What we want to do is work with Mexico in a way that will strengthen … the ability of the marketplace to be able to be open and competitive,” said Kerry in remarks at the Mexican Foreign Ministry.

The constitutional reform of Mexico’s energy policy was sent to the legislature last September, but it has sparked controversy because it would limit private participation in electric power generation to 46 percent, thus favoring the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), a state-run company.

In addition, it would eliminate autonomous energy regulators, revise previously negotiated contracts and prioritize the CFE’s fossil fuel plants over private renewable energy endeavors.

Kerry’s visit comes after US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s Jan. 21 visit where she had expressed Washington’s “concerns” about the “potential negative impact” of Lopez Obrador’s electric power reform.

Taking a much more conciliatory tone, Kerry said Wednesday that “The United States is prepared to be as helpful as we can be. Not because it advantages us but because we are all in this together.”

Kerry said he was convinced that joint efforts between the two nations will be able to help Mexico push forward with electric vehicles and new energy technologies, while also satisfying the needs of the industry.

Kerry said that all over the world countries are quickly moving toward renewable energy sources and the US and Mexico have the opportunity to work together to lead that transformation, adding that Mexico’s role in that area is key for the region.

In his own remarks prior to the meeting of the two countries’ delegations, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Obrard emphasized that “certainly” Mexico will join the “efforts” against climate change and he thanked the US for expressing its “respect” for Mexico’s sovereignty.

After visiting southeastern Mexico in October, Kerry began his second trip to the US southern neighbor on Tuesday in the northwestern state of Baja California, where he reviewed electric power generation efforts with local authorities, as the head of the Mexican Foreign Ministry’s North America Unit, Roberto Velasco, said.

On Tuesday evening, Kerry arrived in Mexico City, where he was welcomed by Velasco.

On Wednesday, Kerry will hold three meetings, one of them with Lopez Obrador, another with Ebrard and the third with Finance Secretary Rogelio Ramirez de la O.

Velasco said that there are several issues “on the table” that will be discussed, including the agreement at the summit of North American leaders last November about the strategy to control methane gas emissions, climate change goals and joint efforts to electrify the automotive industry.

EFE mqb/ppc/laa/bp

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