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World

Ahead of Blinken meeting, Mexico president says energy policy is a sovereign matter

  • Lopez Obrador, an energy nationalist who has sought to renegotiate electricity and pipeline contracts with US and Canadian companies, faced little pressure from former US President Donald Trump over his policies.
  • In seeking to use more domestic fuel, Lopez Obrador has also limited the growth of foreign renewable energy operators in a move critics say affects Mexico's climate emission obligations.
Published February 26, 2021

MEXICO CITY: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told the United States not to meddle in domestic energy policy on Friday, ahead of a meeting between his government and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The online meetings, dubbed a "virtual visit" by Washington, will touch on Lopez Obrador's energy strategy in the context of climate change, along with trade and security, as the government of US President Joe Biden broadens its predecessor's single focus on migration between the neighbors.

Lopez Obrador, an energy nationalist who has sought to renegotiate electricity and pipeline contracts with US and Canadian companies, faced little pressure from former US President Donald Trump over his policies.

Mexico relies heavily on fuel imported from the United States. A new bill in Congress that aims to reshape Mexico's electricity industry to favor state utility CFE has caused alarm among lobbies for private investment.

In seeking to use more domestic fuel, Lopez Obrador has also limited the growth of foreign renewable energy operators in a move critics say affects Mexico's climate emission obligations.

"We are independent. ... We do not meddle in the affairs of the United States," Lopez Obrador told a regular news conference, while taking a jab at the northern neighbor over the failures of Texan power generation during the recent freeze.

"They say we should act in a certain way, that's fine, freedom of expression must be guaranteed," he added.

In a statement ahead of Blinken's meetings later on Friday, the US State Department said discussions start with a "visit" to the border crossing at El Paso to Mexico and US efforts to manage migration flows across the shared border.

The day's agenda with Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier will focus on shared security challenges, regional migration, climate change, "and other issues of mutual interest."

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