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US urges Mexico to heed private sector concerns over electricity market overhaul

The United States has urged Mexico to listen to the concerns of the private sector with regard to the proposed overhaul of the electricity market to favor the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) over private companies, many of which have invested in renewable energy.

During a call with reporters on Thursday to outline United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s “virtual travel” to Mexico and Canada on Friday, acting assistant secretary Julie J. Chung of the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs was asked whether she expected Blinken to address the proposed changes.

“Yeah, there are a whole host of issues related to USMCA implementation that’s ongoing,” Chung responded.

“In terms of the electricity and energy issues, that’s another area that we’ll be discussing in the medium term and long term because there are many aspects that we’re hearing from the private sector about their concerns. But this is where we encourage Mexico to listen to the stakeholders, to listen to the private sector companies and really provide that culture, the atmosphere of free investment and transparency so that companies will continue to invest in Mexico.”

Several analysts said this week that the proposed reform to the Electricity Industry Law would scare off foreign and domestic  investment in the energy sector, especially renewables. The United States Chamber of Commerce warned earlier this month that the bill, which passed the lower house of Congress on Tuesday, contravenes Mexico’s commitments under the USMCA.

The electricity bill appears set to be one of several issues to be examined during bilateral talks on Friday.

Chung indicated that there will be a broad range of topics up for discussion at separate virtual meetings Blinken will attend with Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier.

After “traveling” virtually to the border crossing between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Blinken will speak with Ebrard, Chung said, adding that it will be the third time the two men have spoken since the new United States government took office in January.

SOURCE: Mexico News Daily