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Mexico sees a possible solution to the energy dispute, welcomes the new “tone” of the US


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Mexico – Mexico expressed hope on Monday that it could resolve a major dispute with the United States over energy policy as it welcomed a high-level US delegation and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador struck a conciliatory note in the critical standoff.

López Abrador was speaking ahead of a meeting with US officials, led by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who arrived for the annual so-called High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED), hailed by both sides as a way to deepen economic ties.

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The energy dispute flared up in July when the US government demanded talks to settle the dispute, arguing that Lopez Obrador’s push to increase government control of the energy market was unfair to US companies and likely violated a regional trade deal.

The energy dispute, which Canada immediately joined, is perhaps the biggest dispute to emerge under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) since the North American trade agreement took effect in 2020. If not resolved, it could lead to high trade tariffs against Mexico.

Officials said the dispute was not central to 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’s a process of dialogue, and I hope that an agreement will be reached at some point,” Ebrard said at a press conference with Blinken and others after the talks.

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Mexico’s Economy Minister Tatiana Cloutier, who oversees trade in Latin America, did not. 2 of the economy, stressed that the two governments will work on a fix.

López Abrador, who has made his energy policy a matter of national sovereignty, previously defiantly responded to the United States, saying he would defend Mexico’s position at an Independence Day military parade this Friday.

However, he said on Monday that he would no longer talk about the energy dispute during his speech on Friday because US President Joe Biden had responded positively to his concerns.

“It’s a different tone here. There is a respectful attitude. Rather, it is an affirmation of respect for our national sovereignty,” López Abrador 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 Abrador 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 combat climate change by investing in clean energy and areas such as electric vehicles, solar power and semiconductor manufacturing, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

The United States and Mexico boast some of the world’s largest trade relations, and officials have said efforts to modernize their economies will boost growth and create jobs.

US Commerce Secretary Raimondo said the United States and Mexico have identified areas of supply chain cooperation. She saw great potential for Mexico not only in semiconductor manufacturing, but also in their testing, packaging and assembly.

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“The best is yet to come,” said Raimonda, who said she was “delighted” by the progress made by both sides on a number of issues, including strengthening energy security.

Still, observing that the two sides have not discussed the energy dispute “extensively,” Raimondo said businesses want “predictability, fairness and transparency” in a clear sign of companies’ concerns about Mexico’s politics. (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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