The beef over energy in North America

Last July, the US and Canada filed a complaint against Mexico under their shared trade deal.

The beef over energy in North America
(L–R) Mexican President López Obrador, U.S. President Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau. (Source: US government image)

The backstory: Last year, Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador changed up the country's energy sector rules to help give priority to state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and public power utility Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE). He said past governments had made it so that the market favored private energy.

More recently: Last July, the US and Canada filed a complaint against Mexico under their shared trade deal: the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The companies involved in the complaint argued that Lopez Obrador's new policy wasn't fair for US and Canadian businesses in Mexico. They also said the government's red tape was slowing down their operations. There were resolution talks between the three countries, but there hasn't been that much progress. The US and Canada did agree to extend the talks past the first 75-day window. Under the USMCA agreement, if the countries don't work it out on their own, the issue will be decided by a dispute panel.

The development: Canada, Mexico and the US are holding a summit this week in Mexico City, where they'll definitely talk about this whole thing. The summit will only last two days, and there are some other topics on the table, like border policy, climate change, trade, manufacturing, the economy and a more collaborative North America. But everyone has said they want to work things out without a panel needing to get involved.

Key comments:

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says Biden wants to use the summit to "keep driving North America's economic competitiveness and help promote inclusive growth and prosperity."

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Reuters about the summit: "Both President Biden and I are going to be ... fairly clear with President Lopez Obrador that this ... needs to be understood as a way to help Mexico develop, a way to continue to draw in investments from companies in Canada and the United States."

"A meeting like this is so that we keep moving forward on economic integration," said Mexico's President Lopez Obrador.