The U.S.’s request for dispute settlement discussions under a regional trade pact marks growing international concerns over Lopez Obrador’s efforts to promote Mexico’s state-owned energy companies at the expense of private investors.
At a regular press conference, López Obrador shrugged off the controversy, saying his policies did not violate the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and vowing to respond “point by point” to U.S. grievances.
“We are acting in the public interest by protecting the Mexican people against greedy companies that are used to stealing,” the president said after playing a Mexican song titled “Uy, que mido” (“Oh, it’s scary”).
According to the U.S. Trade Representative, the dispute concerns Mexico’s actions that specifically undermine U.S. manufacturing capacity in favor of U.S. companies in Mexico, Mexico’s state-owned Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) and oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex). .
The left-wing president has said his measures will benefit consumers, while critics argue they increase costs, undermine investment and are unfair to global companies.
Although López Obrador argued that the move by the USTR office had more to do with its policies against Mexican resistance than with U.S. concerns, Canada was quick to say it supported the U.S. challenge.
“It’s about ultra-conservative interests that are used to looting and stealing,” he said. “They thought the land belonged to them.”
He has also sought to unite advocates of renewable energy companies that have been disadvantaged by his opponents by touting his policies in favor of Pemex and CFE.
“The argument of using clean energy to make a dirty business doesn’t work anymore,” he said.
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