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Feature: Mexico seeks political consensus on energy reforms

The energy reform approved by the federal government of Mexico last 2013 is pending on the development of several matters that need to be agreed by the political parties with biggest representation in the parliament. However, there is no deal at the moment as the Party of National Action (PAN), the main opposition party, has left the negotiating table.

The current Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, belongs to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and he was in charge of implementing the energy reform. However, this reform will not be enough as there new laws are required to take it forward. There is deep division on what the laws should be amongst political parties.

PAN senators have said they do not want to put at risk the pending legislation over energy matters, according to a report by Business News Americas. On the other hand, Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) members of the Parliament went back to the negotiation table at the same time PAN Senators left it. PAN is expected to return to the energy debate and the pending laws be approved before 15 July. However, PRD officials said that it will be “difficult” to meet the deadline.

CNN TV channel quoted a statement by PRI Senator David Penchyna, who is the president of the Senate Energy Commision and coordinates the energy laws debate. Penchyna is confident in “keep working together in such important matter”.

Jose Luis Preciado, PAN’s spokesman at the Senate and Luis Alberto Villarreal, spokesman of the same party at the Chamber of Deputies, announced the PAN’s requirements to kick-start the negotiations. Most of their demands are related to questions without any link to the energy reform. Thus political lack of understanding has triggered the current setbacks for the energy reform.

PAN made a protest against several changes on the electoral laws that PRI wants to carry out, especially those that affect the elections that will be held in 2015 in 17 out of the 31 states that form Mexico. But PAN’s discontent is also due to reasons that affect the energy reform, such as the appointment of the energy sector’s senior officials.

The energy reform approved last December required a change in the country’s Constitution to open the electrical sector to private investments, both domestic and foreign.

The rules that will develop the reform are so important and the federal government is confident in their approval. Mexican chancellor “foreign secretary- Jose Antonio Meade claimed in a recent visit to Japan that the energy reform will create “more competitiveness and more employment” as well as will bring “more foreign capital”, according to a report by Spanish news agency Efe. Actually this is one of his main goals of his visit to Tokyo.

The chancellor showed his conviction on both countries to “get more shared investments” and stressed the importance of the energy sector. In this connection, the head of Mexico’s Foreign Secretary said that the new rules derived from the reform will serve as a “lever for economic growth”.

The head of Mexico’s diplomacy added that one of the main reasons that propelled the energy reform was the considerable presence of oil and shale gas deposits in the country. He said that the reform will bring more capital as well as a better technology to take advantage of Mexico’s energy resources.

Meade thinks it is essential that the reform “be approved soon and finally to make possible a completely defined energy market “.

The chancellor’s optimism with respect to the reform could be deflated by a recent report about Mexico’s energy reform by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. The prestigious study said that some goals, such as increasing the production of oil up to three million barrels daily is “unrealistic” in the near future and will not be possible until the next decade, news provider CNN Expansion reported.

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