Mexican president: Energy consultation with US is nonsense

Mexico City, Aug 25 (EFE).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday called the consultation initiated by the US on his country’s energy policy “nonsense” and criticized US Trade Representative Katherine Tai for speaking on the matter.

“The consultation … is complete nonsense, in a arrogant tone of high-handedness making reference that the energy reform launched in (Mexico in 2013) was the panacea when we maintain the opposite,” he said at his regular morning press conference.

Lopez Obrador, widely known as AMLO, said that 15 days before his electricity reform for Mexico was launched, a move seeking to favor state-run companies over foreign ones, he met with US businessmen and dealt “case by case” with the controversies arising from his initiative.

“There was no need to ask for a consultation, no reason,” AMLO said.

The Mexican leader also criticized Tai, saying that she made a speech with the aim of forcing Mexico to modify its own laws and defending the energy reform of former President Enrique Peña Nieto, who governed from 2012-2018 and opened the sector to private investment.

“So, the lady in charge of US trade (was) saying that (the 2013) reform was a really good one and that, in addition, what we were doing was bad by reforming the electricity law,” he said.

In addition, he said that he is ready to welcome US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who will visit Mexico in September to discuss the differences in energy policy within the framework of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA).

But he went on to say that a meeting is not being considered because Blinken is coming to Mexico to continue with the bilateral High-Level Economic Dialogue, in which the Mexican president is not taking part.

“If the meeting comes off, I would take advantage of it to tell him, to communicate to him, what our stance is and what it’s going to continue to be but this is not a rupture, it’s arguing and defending Mexico,” AMLO said.

Lopez Obrador said that Mexico’s relations with the US are good.

“We mutually need one another. It would be very difficult for the US economy to work without Mexico’s participation, just as the relationship with the United States is very important for us, and for them as well,” he said.

The Mexican leader also expressed his hope that the US government would change its outlook “because … there’s no reason for it.”

Finally, he expressed his confidence that foreign investment will continue flowing into Mexico despite the remarks last week by the US ambassador to his country, Ken Salazar, who said that due to such things as violence in the US southern neighbor investment was “cooling off.”

“That would only be a political decision by the White House, a rupture, and even so I assure you that investment would continue coming to Mexico,” he said.

On July 29, the US asked for settlement talks with Mexico, claiming that Mexican energy policies discriminate against US firms and Canada later joined the US complaint.

The resulting disagreement between Washington and Mexico City has proved to be the biggest to emerge so far under the USMCA.

As per the treaty, if a complaint of this kind cannot be resolved within 75 days, a dispute panel can be asked to review claims.

EFE csr/ppc/eat/bp

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