The controversy over energy policy between Mexico and the US within the framework of the TMEC continues on the table. The United States ambassador to the country, Ken Salazar, declared this Monday that the consultations provided for in the trade agreement are being maintained, despite the fact that the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, had assured in recent days that Washington had desisted in its intention of bringing the issue of the electricity sector to a panel. “The process continues, that has not changed. The TMEC is a legal framework between the three countries and it has to be followed up,” said the US diplomat at a press conference.
Salazar added that Mexico and the United States have addressed the importance of clean energy and will continue to dialogue on the subject. “In that we have already had a lot of dialogue, with President López Obrador, with President Biden, with the members of the Cabinet, we are committed to getting there. So, focused on that is where we are going, that is why there was a lot of dialogue with Secretary (John) Kerry and with others from the Cabinet of the United States and members of the Cabinet of Mexico, also, there we take it in that large framework that is essential to have success in that,” he said.
The diplomat’s words contradict the statements of President López Obrador, who last week at his usual press conference at the National Palace had affirmed that the United States would no longer resort to an international panel to deal with differences in electrical matters. “An agreement is being sought, an arrangement, that there is no confrontation. So, we are doing well,” declared the Mexican president on October 14.
Asked about Salazar’s new statements, López Obrador reported this Tuesday that he will have a call in the next few hours with President Biden and insisted on “the good relations” that the US maintains with Mexico. The president, however, once again defended his energy reform, an initiative that prioritizes the dispatch of electricity from the state company, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), over the megawatts generated in private plants, regardless of whether these The latter are produced at lower cost or more efficiently. “I am sure that they will realize that our relationship with the application of our sovereign policy in electrical matters, in oil matters, in the management of lithium is not affected at all, that is not subject to any negotiation, to any treaty. It is a matter of principle.”
The electrical issue has become the main headache among the signatory countries of the TMEC. Since last July, the governments of the United States and Canada filed complaints against the energy policy of the Government of López Obrador, arguing that his companies are discriminated against and endanger billions of dollars in investments. After concluding the 75 days established in the consultation period within the framework of the TMEC, the United States, which initiated the process, has the right to start with the international panel.
The center of the controversy in this case falls on the electrical reform proposed by López Obrador that prioritizes the dispatch of electricity from the parastatal, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), to the detriment of the private plants that are already operating in Mexico and have invested large capitals to generate energy in the country. Although the constitutional reform failed due to lack of support and the changes to the law are paralyzed in the courts, de facto the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) has continued to put obstacles to the operation of private plants. Separately, the president has defended his position and has emphasized that he was not going to continue with the “surrogate policy” and that there has been “no violation of the treaty (TMEC)”.