Mexico, US meet amid electrical power dispute
MEXICO CITY — Mexican and American officials met Thursday amid disagreements about an electrical power reform that seeks to limit foreign-built renewable energy plants and grant a majority market share to Mexico’s state-owned power utility.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry, but the Mexican leader appeared unwilling to budge on the proposal, which is currently stuck in Mexico’s Congress.
“I think it was a friendly, necessary and beneficial meeting,” López Obrador wrote in his social media accounts.
While he didn’t address the differences, López Obrador appeared to offer foreign firms a chance to invest in a scheme to build natural gas liquification plants in southern Mexico, to export LNG, presumably to Europe or Asia.
Mexico has to import gas — it doesn’t produce enough to meet its own needs, much less export — so the scheme would involve pumping U.S. natural gas to southern Mexico ports, chilling and liquifying it and loading it aboard ships.
“There are a lot of possibilities for investment,” López Obrador said before the meeting with Kerry. “We have excess gas due to purchases made through the gas pipelines” that handle U.S. gas. “We have land, we have seaports at Salina Cruz, Coatzacoalcos.”
López Obrador has vowed to press ahead with the changes to the electrical power industry, despite U.S. concerns that they could close off markets, choke off competition and possibly violate the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade pact.
On Thursday, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told U.S. senators that she was “deeply concerned with the legislative and regulatory developments in the Mexican energy industry that we have seen in recent months. My team and I at USTR, along with much of the U.S. government, have expressed these concerns regularly and directly to our counterparts in the Mexican government.”