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Mexico targets resolution of U.S. energy spat, eyes renewables plan

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico has submitted proposals aimed at resolving a sizeable part of an energy dispute with the United States, and wants to give companies confidence they can invest in the country, the economy ministry said on Wednesday.

Washington and Ottawa in July demanded dispute settlement talks with Mexico, arguing that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s nationalist energy policies hurt their firms and breached the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal.

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Mexico has been working since then to avoid the dispute reaching an arbitration panel that could prove costly.

“We want to make quick progress so as not to distract the investor and so they don’t lose interest in coming to Mexico,” Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro told a news conference.

Her deputy, Alejandro Encinas Najera, told reporters a third round of consultations on the energy dispute should be held between late December and early January.

Without going into detail, he said Mexico had put forward two proposals that could deal “definitively” with two of the four areas of consultations at the heart of the dispute.

The pair were speaking after Buenrostro last week visited Washington for the first time since becoming economy minister in October.

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Buenrostro also said Mexico wanted to create three to four industrial parks producing renewable energy in a trans-oceanic business corridor the president is promoting in the isthmus of Tehuantepec to help develop the country’s poorer south.

The parks are part of 10 in total that the government aims to auction in late February, she said, pitching them as potential hubs for key industries including semiconductor production in an area with plentiful supplies of water, an important input.

In a separate USMCA dispute over the interpretation of regional content requirements for the automotive sector that pits Mexico and Canada against the United States, Encinas said a preliminary ruling had already been reached on the matter.

That ruling would be made public around Jan. 13, he said.

North America is also battling high levels of inflation, and Buenrostro said Mexico was reviewing quotas of certain products to stimulate trade to keep prices under control. (Reporting by Dave Graham and Adriana Barrera; Additional reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Leslie Adler)



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