President López Obrador announced Wednesday that his chief of staff was stepping down but would continue to be his “main link” to the private sector.
López Obrador said on Twitter that Alfonso Romo, a business tycoon with interests in several sectors and a former olympic equestrian, agreed to serve two years in his government and that period has now concluded.
“He has helped me and will continue helping. He’s an independent and honest man, committed to just causes. In addition, he’s my friend,” he wrote.
“I will never forget that he was the first businessman to support the transformation movement,“ López Obrador said, referring to his government.
In addition to serving as the president’s chief of staff, Romo has headed up the National Council for the Promotion of Investment, Employment and Economic Growth.
He has pushed strongly for Mexico to take advantage of the trade war between the United States and China in order to attract greater investment. Romo has also said that Mexico has a signifiant opportunity to benefit from an increased regionalization of supply chains due to the coronavirus pandemic and the entry into force of the new North American free trade agreement, the USMCA.
The government has nevertheless implemented some policies, most notably in the energy sector, that are not seen as being particularly friendly to private investment.
It remains to be seen what impact, if any, Romo’s departure has on future policy decisions.
After López Obrador’s announcement, several business groups acknowledged the role the outgoing chief of staff has played in linking the business sector to the government.
“In complex circumstances, he acted as a translator [and] interlocutor” between the two parties, said Gustavo Hoyos, president of Coparmex, the Mexican Employers Federation.
“He was the brake on many [government] ideas,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that he had kept the “radicals” in check.
The Business Coordinating Council, an umbrella organization of 12 business groups, described Romo as a valuable member of the government and an “open-minded interlocutor” with whom “sincere dialogue” was always possible.
“He will certainly continue working for the good of Mexico in his upcoming duties. We will miss him.”
Source: Milenio (sp)