The United States does not like the Mexican government’s electricity reform and, for now, is making it known in diplomatic language. In a press conference with no pre-established theme, its ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, recognized the differences between the two executives. “We are looking to see if there are some ways in which we can reach a resolution. I don’t know if that is possible. What I do believe is that we have a good relationship with the López Obrador government, ”he said. After a meeting last week with companies in the sector, Salazar pointed out this Tuesday that the companies “of course are concerned” and that Mexico needs this investment.
American diplomacy is closely monitoring the electricity reform. Salazar met last Friday with some businessmen in the sector to receive their point of view. “We have to see how he is going to walk. Companies that have invested in renewables with the backing of the United States have invested more than 1,000 million dollars, ”said the diplomat, at his residence on Paseo de la Reforma, before a room packed with reporters. “We have had meetings with companies that create hundreds of thousands of jobs and we have to ensure that they will have the energy required for development.”
Presented at the beginning of October, the reform proposal proposes canceling current contracts of private plants, many of them for renewable energy, with companies and with the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). If the modification is approved as presented by the Executive, companies that previously supplied electricity from private companies, at a cheaper rate than that offered by the state company, would have to buy from the CFE. The business sector has warned that this change may lead to an increase in production costs.
Beyond the economic impact, one of the most debated points is the potential incompatibility of the reform with the T-MEC that unites Mexico with the United States and Canada and that includes protection clauses for investors. Although Salazar has avoided commenting on that debate, the ambassador has pointed out that “economies are linked forever.” “Mexico requires investments from American companies, not only in the energy sector, but also in many other things,” he said. “We are looking to see how the reasons for the reform can be better understood.”
The reform still has a difficult legislative road ahead. Morena, the party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and its allies do not have the qualified majority they need to pass a constitutional reform. Meanwhile, the United States is knocking on the doors of the proponents of the proposal. Last week, Salazar met with the Secretary of Energy, Rocío Nahle, to express his “serious concerns.” Nahle responded by reminding the ambassador that “Mexico and the United States have collaborated in the sector for years with absolute respect for their laws and the sovereignty of each country.” Both, however, agreed to continue with the “dialogue.”
Salazar insisted this Tuesday on the “good relationship” that unites the Biden Administration with that of López Obrador and has declared himself optimistic. He has listed the multiple visits by high-level US officials, from the landing of Vice President Kamala Harris in June to the most recent visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in October. “Until last year there was no dialogue between governments. Now we are talking about the most important things between the US and Mexico and one of those things is energy, “he said.
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