US Under Secretary of Energy Visits MexicoBy María José Goytia | Thu, 03/03/2022 - 10:26
Jose W. Fernandez, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, US Department of State, will visit Mexico for a week to participate in high-level meetings with Mexico’s senior officials. Together, they are to discuss investment, the climate crisis and renewable energy.
From Feb. 27 to Mar. 3, Fernandez will discuss key issues for the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the US. Topics include energy, the climate crisis and nature conservation, as well as the investment promotion and innovation. Fernandez will meet with Mexico's ministers of foreign affairs, environment, health and finance.
"I am pleased to work with Mexico to ensure that our region has the most attractive investment climate in the world. Our relationship with Mexico is essential to advancing a positive economic agenda for the North American region. The purpose of my trip is to strengthen cooperation on a wide range of issues, like North American competitiveness and investment to increase prosperity for all," said Fernandez upon his arrival to Mexico.
Fernandez was welcomed by the US Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, who highlighted the several visits that the Biden administration has made. The first meeting took place on Monday, when Roberto Velasco, Head of the North American Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), received Fernandez as part of the High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED). During this meeting, energy sector issues were not discussed in depth. However, the opportunities for economic integration and investment promotion for greater competitiveness in North America were highlighted. Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard did not attend the conversation.
Fernandez's visit comes amid the Mexican Congress' discussion over the controversial energy reform, which would limit private participation in the electricity sector to 46 percent, favoring CFE’s position within the market. According to various analysts and private sector leaders, this reform could lead to friction over USMCA, which could harm the region’s energy transition due to a lack of clean energy promotion.
Amid the discussions, President López Obrador criticized Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, during his morning press conference after Blinken expressed his concern about violence against the press in Mexico on twitter. The president declared that Secretary Blinken was "misinformed" about the situation.
Before serving as Under Secretary at the Department of State, Jose Fernandez worked as a Director and Member of Iberdrola’s Audit and Risk Supervision Committee, a position he held for over six years until he joined the Biden administration in August 2021. His experience in both the private and public sector fits the Biden administration’s intent to pursue more tangible agreements with Mexico regarding the safety of US investment and the encouragement of the North American energy transition.