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President López Obrador met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm Thursday at the National Palace. President López Obrador met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm Thursday at the National Palace. Presidencia de la República

US not concerned over electrical reform, says Mexican energy minister after meeting

'Like all friends there may be issues [but]... in the end we are going to be strong allies'

The United States is not concerned about the federal government’s proposed electricity reform, Energy Minister Rocío Nahle said Thursday after she, President López Obrador and other officials met with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in Mexico City.

Nahle said officials discussed energy policy in both the United States and Mexico during a “very enjoyable and very respectful” 2 1/2-hour meeting on Thursday evening.

“[We gave] a brief description of the reform we presented to Congress, which is very good, and everything is fine in that respect,” she told reporters after leaving the National Palace.

López Obrador said on Twitter that he had a “friendly conversation” with Granholm during which “matters of interest for our people and nations” were addressed.

“Respect, understanding and willingness to cooperate for development prevailed,” he wrote.

The Mexican and US delegations
The Mexican and US delegations following Thursday’s meeting in Mexico City.

Earlier on Thursday, Granholm – under pressure from U.S. Democratic Party senators to challenge Mexico over its “detrimental fossil fuel agenda” – said there may be some issues that the United States and Mexico would have to work on with respect to the electricity reform, which would guarantee 54% of the market to the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission and thus limit the participation of private companies, many of which generate renewable energy.

“Mexico has such an enviable and amazing series of clean resources that we want to talk about. And like all friends there may be issues that we’re also going to work on on the electricity reform but we know that in the end we are going to be strong allies, strongly supportive of a strong North American economy,” she said during a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard on Thursday morning.

Granholm also met with Nahle prior to the evening meeting at the National Palace, and will attend a roundtable discussion on Friday on the topic of “women in the energy sector in Mexico.”

The Mexican Energy Ministry said in a statement that the meeting moved energy cooperation between the two countries forward, thanks to the nations’ mutual respect for one another and the political experience of the two energy ministers.

Four United States senators wrote to the energy secretary and Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week to urge the Biden administration to “more forcefully speak out in support of renewable energy production that will benefit both” the U.S. and Mexico.

They warned of a range of adverse consequences if López Obrador’s proposed electricity reform is approved, including the cancellation of renewable energy permits, contracts, and certificates.

The Congress is expected to vote on the controversial bill – which requires two-thirds support to pass – in April. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, the European Union’s ambassador to Mexico, U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar and the Mexican Solar Energy Association have all raised concerns about the planned constitutional reform.

With reports from El Universal and Milenio

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