Mexican Congress Rejects More State Control Over Energy Industry

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Mexico’s congress dealt a major setback to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador late Sunday in his bid for state control over the country’s energy sector, a priority of his nationalist agenda, the Wall Street Journal reported. Mexico’s lower house rejected constitutional amendments proposed by Mr. López Obrador to give the country’s state-owned power company control over the electricity industry in a 275-223 vote, short of the two-thirds majority needed to change Mexico’s constitution. All opposition parties voted against the bill, while Mr. López Obrador’s Morena party and two smaller allies supported it. In opposing the bill, the conservative National Action Party and the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, joined forces to thwart the most significant piece of legislation introduced by Mr. López Obrador since he took office in 2018. The bill would have rolled back a large part of the 2013 opening of Mexico’s electricity and oil industries to foreign investment, which led to billions of dollars of investment in power plants, oil exploration and gas stations by international energy companies. Mr. López Obrador has long criticized the 2013 changes, arguing that the rules give unfair advantage to private and foreign companies over state-owned enterprises like power utility CFE and oil company Petróleos Mexicanos, which have lost market share. Read more. (Subscription required.)