Mexico. – Experts warned this Friday during the Banking Convention of “clashes” between the US and Mexican governments over energy policy and the “sovereignty” speech of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“This part of the energy is an area where we are going to see shocks on the rise,” said Duncan Wood, vice president of Strategy and New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson Center during the panel “Mexico-United States Relations.”
The event of the second and last day of the Banking Convention occurs days after the enactment of the reform to the Mexican Electricity Industry Law, which privileges the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), the State company, over private and foreign companies.
Although a federal court suspended the general effects of the reform on Thursday for violating free competition, AMLO announced this Friday that he will ask to investigate the judges by accusing them of being “at the service” of private and foreign interests.
Wood stated that President Joe Biden avoided the issue to avoid friction in the virtual bilateral meeting with López Obrador on March 1, but warned that Washington will await the resolutions of the courts and the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.
He also commented that there is lobbying by US companies to pressure Mexico on issues of labor rights, energy, respect for investments, and the pharmaceutical industry.
“From the Department of Commerce here in Washington, they tell me that their desks are full of complaints about what is happening in Mexico. North American companies are saying they can’t do it anymore ”, he assured.
The panelists agreed that, unlike Donald Trump, Biden will take advantage of the institutional mechanisms of the new Agreement between Mexico, the United States, and Canada (USMCA) to defend investments.
“It seems to me extraordinarily risky to underestimate Biden and assume that by taking care of the forms and acting in an institutional manner, he does not have the instruments to act or that he is not going to privilege the national interest of his country,” said Luis Rubio, president of the Mexico Evalúa association.
Rubio highlighted the “coldness” with which López Obrador received Biden by suggesting that the Mexican government is concerned about the attention that the new White House will put on issues that go beyond migration and a personal relationship, such as with Trump.
Rafael Fernández de Castro, director of the Center for Mexico-United States Studies, recalled that Biden “is not a revolutionary,” so he will allow time for the energy transition.
“There is time in this, I do not see a train crash, but indeed there are all the precepts, for that there is a USMCA and the violations of Mexico, of course, will have reprisals,” he said.
In the second conference of the day, the president and executive director of the investment fund BlackRock, Larry Fink, assured also pointing to the Electricity Industry Law that Mexico needs “there to be private and public participation” to move from the use of hydrocarbons to the solar and wind energy.
“If we do not focus today, in 30 years we are going to have many problems. And I ask all governments that we need to meet the Government and the private sector to plan for the long term,” said the director of the world’s largest investment fund.
Fink, who has a close relationship with AMLO, warned that “companies and countries that denied climate change will suffer a capital reallocation,” which will go to other companies and nations with an energy vision for the future.
After the complaints accumulated during the two days of the convention, the president assured at the closing that “the rules” of operation of the banks will not change and that there will be “no obstacles of any kind in the national market.”
“Make no mistake. We will always be respectful of companies and banks of the national and foreign private sector. I repeat: we are in favor of doing business in Mexico within the framework of the law and with reasonable profits. What is not allowed it is corruption and influentialism. That is over, “he remarked.
CLOSURE BETWEEN BANKS AND GOVERNMENT
Despite the friction, Mexican bankers extended their hand to the Government to comply with the name of this year’s convention, called “Banking as a driver of economic development 2021. “
The new president of the ABM , Daniel Becker , asked after inaugurating his position to act “all together” to accelerate “the economic recovery with appropriate actions and policies.”
“We have no doubt that with a common agenda many things can be achieved. To all the different actors involved, I thank and acknowledge their efforts in these months and I reiterate the will of this new board of directors to work together,” he concluded.
López Obrador picked up the glove and pledged with the bankers to fulfill one of their great requests and carry out “very soon” a profound, radical reform, simplifying (bureaucratic) for the benefit of companies, especially small and medium businesses”.