Mexico eyes possible solution to energy dispute, welcomes new US ‘tone’

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MEXICO CITY – Mexico expressed hope on Monday to resolve a major dispute with the United States over energy policy as it hosted a high-level US delegation and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador adopted a conciliatory note in critical impasse.

Lopez Obrador was speaking before meeting US officials led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who are visiting to mark the so-called High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED), which both sides hailed as a path to deepening of economic ties.

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The energy row erupted in July, when the US government demanded dispute settlement talks, arguing that Lopez Obrador’s drive to tighten state control over the energy market was unfair to US companies and probably violated a regional trade agreement.

The energy complaint, which Canada immediately joined, is arguably the biggest dispute to surface under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) since it took effect of the North American Trade Agreement in 2020. If left unresolved, it could result in the imposition of heavy trade tariffs against Mexico.

Officials said the dispute was not at the heart of Monday’s talks, although Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard expressed optimism that a deal could be struck.

“That was not the purpose of the meeting, because as we know it is in a process of dialogue and I hope that an agreement will be reached at some point,” Ebrard told a conference. releases with Blinken and others after the talks.

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Mexico’s Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier, who oversees trade in Latin America, #1. 2 economy, underlined this point, saying that the two governments would work on a solution.

Lopez Obrador, who has made his energy policy a matter of national sovereignty, had previously responded defiantly to the United States, saying he would defend Mexico’s position in an Independence Day military parade to be held this Friday.

He said Monday, however, that he would not speak about the energy dispute again during his speech on Friday because US President Joe Biden had responded positively to his concerns.

“There is a different tone. There is a respectful attitude. Rather, it is a reaffirmation of respect for our national sovereignty,” Lopez Obrador said at a press conference, referring to a letter he said he received from Biden.

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After meeting with US officials, Lopez Obrador said on Twitter that he had a « productive and friendly » meeting with Blinken and US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Blinken and the Mexican president talked about joint efforts to fight climate change by investing in clean energy and in areas such as electric vehicles, solar power and semiconductor production, the door said. – US State Department spokesman, Ned Price.

The United States and Mexico also said they would work together on a pilot project to determine the feasibility of offshoring semiconductor manufacturing inputs in a joint statement later today.

The two countries enjoy one of the largest trading ties in the world, and officials said efforts to modernize their economies would boost growth and jobs.

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US Commerce Secretary Raimondo said the United States and Mexico have identified areas of collaboration on supply chains. She saw great potential for Mexico not only in the manufacture of semiconductors, but also in their testing, packaging and assembly.

« The best is yet to come, » said Raimondo, who said she was « delighted » with the progress made by both sides on a range of issues, including strengthening energy security.

Yet while observing that the two sides have not discussed the energy controversy « in depth », Raimondo said the companies want « predictability, fairness and transparency » in an apparent nod to concerns. businesses regarding Mexico’s policies. (Reporting by Dave Graham; Additional reporting by Anthony Esposito and Kylie Madry in Mexico City and Simon Lewis in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller, Aurora Ellis and Michael Perry)



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