It's been more than two months since Raquel Buenrostro took the reins of Mexico's Ministry of Economy (SE), since she comes with one of the Government's biggest responsibilities: resolving the controversy with the United States regarding the energy sector.
Since she arrived at her office on October 7, Buenrostro has met in Washington with her counterpart, as well as with the international press, but she has not announced concrete progress.
As she herself has recognized, each day that passes with the open controversy, Mexico loses investment opportunities.
Time is against you.
The US has the power to escalate the dispute to a solution panel at any time if it considers that there is no significant progress in the consultation process.
"Regarding the issue of consultations with the United States and Canada on energy matters, it is important to accelerate the resolution of its conclusion in order to give guarantees to investors who want to undertake in the country," said the Secretariat in a statement issued on Monday. in the evening.
"This is very relevant for the relocation of companies because it gives them legal certainty for their investment plans and how they should integrate their supply chains in Mexico."
The text recalled some of the points already announced previously: Mexico proposes to create "working groups" to advance with the US and Canada in the consultations that neighboring countries began in July, who accuse that the government's energy policy violates the TMEC trade agreement for limiting the participation of private parties for the benefit of state companies.
The SE also assured that it has issued "two solution proposals in accordance with the legal framework" to resolve two of the four points in dispute.
It is highly unlikely that SE will reveal the offers it is making to the US and Canada, as well as its strategy, explains Juan Carlos Baker, consultant and former Undersecretary of Foreign Trade in Mexico.
Baker was one of the USMCA negotiators.
“This is discussed behind closed doors and I think that's how it should be,” Baker says, “but where are the results?
Where are the expectations?
They don't say that and I frankly believe that if there is no progress in this regard, very soon the United States and Canada will conclude that there is not much to do."
The US and Canada have the power to refer the dispute to a settlement panel at any time, if they do not feel that the current phase of consultations is moving forward.
Buenrostro said last week that in the three months of consultations and before his arrival at the Ministry, the agency had not approached the private sector or worked with the Ministry of Energy to find solutions.
One of the points of controversy has to do with a reform to the Electricity Industry Law (LIE) passed at the initiative of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Since this puts state companies at an advantage in electrical matters, private companies have issued hundreds of injunctions which must be resolved by collegiate courts.
Here, too, time is not in Mexico's favor, since the Judiciary does not consider TMEC consultations in its time.
Therefore, the Government must propose modifications to resolve this dispute.
Otherwise, if the panel rules in favor of the US and Canada, they are authorized to impose high tariffs on Mexican products.
"Mexico's legal position seems to be quite fragile," Baker says.
“I think that the United States and Canada are, in a way, giving the benefit of the doubt to the new authorities and offering space for ideas outside the box,” adds the specialist.
On December 5, the president of the National Council of the Maquiladora and Export Manufacturing Industry (known as Index), Luis Hernández, assured that the industry's expectation is that the United States and Canada push the controversy to the panel, something that the SE want to avoid.
“There is a lot of expectation at the end of this year, about how we are going to capitalize on the TMEC, which I believe has presented six controversies in labor matters.
And the biggest expectation we have at the end of the year is the energy panel,” Hernández said at a press conference.
The economic damage for the Mexican export sectors could be between 10,000 and 30,000 million dollars, due to the imposition of tariffs, in the event that the panel rules against Mexico.
The recent communication by SE on the subject "is welcome", says Baker, "it's good that they talk, because, ultimately, their objective is to convey certainty, to convey that there is an exit map that will take us to a solution, but that, at the moment, is not perceived”.
EL PAÍS México
newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in this country
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
I'm already a subscriber