Mexico City — The US and Canada have sent a new consultation to the Mexican government in the three countries’ ongoing energy dispute, with Washington and Ottawa stating that the Mexican response has not been satisfactory and that the information provided had been partial, Mexico’s Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro said Tuesday during an appearance in the Senate.
Buenrostro, participating in the Senate’s analysis of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s fourth annual government report, said that the deadline to attend to the US and Canadian request had expired on October 3, but that the two trading partners had allowed for a postponement due to the resignation of Tatiana Clouthier as economy minister on October 6 and her subsequent replacement with Buenrostro the following day.
The US and Canada had filed a complaint against Mexico’s energy policy on July 20 as part of the US-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA), but now argue that the responses from Mexico were not satisfactory.
Following the changes at Mexico’s Economy Ministry, the US and Canadian governments resubmitted the two previous lists of questions and sent a third list as part of the consultation process and, in addition, several working groups were established to resolve the issues that have generated doubts.
In line with the extension of the consultation period, Buenrostro said she met with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
The first comment and concern expressed by ambassador Tai was that the two lists of questions that had been delivered to Mexico before October 3 had not been delivered completely, that there had been a partial delivery of the information, that was the concern.Raquel Buenrostro, Mexico's Economy Minister
Mexico unwilling to enter into confrontation
Mexico does not want a confrontation with its main trading partner, the United States, in their bid to resolve trade disputes, and, on the contrary, will seek dialogue and negotiation, Buenrostro said.
She highlighted the importance of the bilateral relationship, saying that Mexico and the US are large economies that complement and benefit each other, and therefore negotiation and trade agreements that favor both countries are a necessity and an imperative.
Mexico is not at all interested in confrontation; it is dialogue, negotiation and the law that will settle any trade dispute between the two nations, and this last point also includes, in the same terms, the relationship with Canada.Raquel Buenrostro, Mexico's Economy Minister
Buenrostro also said that respect for sovereignty will be the guiding principle of international dialogue with countries with which Mexico has trade agreements, which has to do with the right of each nation to make decisions independently and without external interference, particularly when the welfare of Mexicans is at stake.
Respect for sovereignty will mark the path of the agreements on energy and food security and the bid to attract investments that promote the greatest number of formal and specialized jobs to consolidate a strong industrial and commercial policy in the face of the challenges of the 21st century.Raquel Buenrostro, Mexico's Economy Minister
Nearshoring in Mexico
Buenrostro said that there is currently the intention of more than 400 North American companies to relocate from Asia to Mexico in a move to increase nearshoring, and that those companies’ interest is a sign of the importance of the USMCA, which provides legal certainty to investors.
The USMCA is the new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed between the three countries in 1994, and which was revised and redrawn at the request of US former president Donald Trump.
Neither they [Mexico’s trade partners] nor we are interested in having any kind of confrontation, especially at this time of a global crisis and where relocation is so important, and they are interested in the relocation of 400 companies, especially in the energy sector.Raquel Buenrostro, Mexico's Economy Minister
Buenrostro denied that upon her arrival at the ministry she had fired the USMCA negotiating team, and assured that the technical officials in charge of resolving trade disputes remain at the ministry, and that the changes made were only in leadership roles.