US and Canada Raise Investment ConcernsBy Cas Biekmann | Fri, 05/21/2021 - 09:27
Canada and the US have voiced their concerns regarding the current state of their investments in Mexico during the first meeting of the USMCA Free Trade Commission. President López Obrador’s energy policy, as well as climate concerns were central topics of discussion. Mexico clarified that investment, security and supply chains would be discussed with US Vice President Kamala Harris and Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on June 8.
The Free Trade Commission’s talks were held virtually where Mexico’s Minister of Economy Tatiania Clouthier, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng participated.
Tai urged Mexico to generate an energy policy that “respects US investment”, while remaining on target for climate goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreements. Ng addressed the security of Canadian investments in the energy sector as well as in the mining sector, where many Canadian companies have important investments in the country.
Ebrard highlighted that investments, security and supply chains would be on top of the agenda during the meeting with Harris. Security and dealing with irregular immigration at the border between the Us and Mexico will likely take the center stage. In an earlier meeting between López Obrador and Harris, the energy sector remained undiscussed, despite expectations from some experts that thought it would be addressed. “The videoconference between President López Obrador and Vice President Kamala Harris has concluded. It was a very cordial political dialogue based on substantial similarities. A close relationship built on trust and respect is being built,” tweeted Ebrard right after the meeting.
Even though other issues are highlighted, investments in Mexico’s energy sector have been a growing challenging issue for US and Canadian businesses, to the point that the country’s highest diplomatic channels have had to be engaged. Friction began when the López Obrador administration began rolling out its policy to give preference and save state production companies like PEMEX and CFE. Once US and Canadian stakeholders saw how the Mexican government began to restrict their private auction participation, interested parties raised the alarm in their respective home countries. Recent initiatives to turn back the level playing field for private participants established in the 2014 Energy Reform brought the issue to a new boiling point, even though these bills were met with injunctions from federal judges soon after they passed through Congress. Canadian and US-based energy companies active in the Mexican market have urged its political leaders to defend their shared interests in the country, whereas López Obrador stressed that energy policy remains a sovereign matter.