by Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada and the United States will argue at a summit of North American leaders next week that resolving a dispute over measures favoring Mexican energy companies would help attract more foreign investment in Mexico, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.
“(US) President (Joe) Biden and I are going to be (…) quite clear with President (Andres Manuel) Lopez Obrador that this (…) should be seen as a way of help Mexico grow, a way to continue to attract business investment from Canada and the United States,” Trudeau told Reuters.
Asked if he hoped to make progress at the Mexico City summit, Justin Trudeau replied: “Absolutely”.
Last year, the United States and Canada began dispute settlement talks with Mexico under a North American trade deal accusing Mexican energy policies of discrimination.
Justin Trudeau will arrive in Mexico City on Monday for a three-day visit, which will include bilateral meetings with Joe Biden and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He will meet with business leaders from the three countries on Monday.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a left-wing nationalist energy expert, has pledged to revive state-owned power company Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) and oil producer Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), which he says his predecessors deliberately weakened to cede the Mexican energy market to foreigners.
The United States and Canada are contesting amendments to Mexican legislation that give priority to the distribution of electricity produced by the CFE.
“Canadian companies have invested approximately C$13 billion ($9.7 billion) in energy infrastructure. In Mexico, C$5 billion is dedicated specifically to renewable energy,” said Justin Trudeau.
His message to business leaders will be that the new trade pact is working, he said, and is “creating jobs, opportunity and growth in our countries”.
($1 = 1.3437 Canadian dollars)
(Steve Scherer; French version Nicolas Delame)