Between December 20, 2020 and July 15, Mexico’s Ministry of Energy (Sener) canceled 1,866 permits for the import and export of gasoline, diesel, LP gas, jet fuel, fuel oil and crude.
As of September 20, only 97 of the 1,954 permits granted to private companies were active in Mexico.
According to media reports, the Mexican government has suspended permits for several US-owned fuel storage terminals, while using the National Guard to force the closure of 23 fuel-related facilities, such as storage sites, and shutdown partial of another 171.
In June, Mexico’s tax authority amended the General Foreign Trade Rules, prohibiting companies from obtaining or renewing the three-year permits required for fuel terminals to serve as entry and exit points for hydrocarbons.
The same agency suspended 82 fuel trading companies in July for alleged tax violations.
For these and other reasons, through a letter, 40 US federal legislators asked the US government to redouble its efforts to pressure Mexican authorities to stop “discriminatory actions” and provide US companies that operate or trade with Mexico a level playing field, as provided by the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (USMCA).
And, according to them, the Mexican government discriminates against private companies to support the CFE and Pemex.
The letter was sent to Katherine Tai, White House trade representative; Anthony J. Blinken, Secretary of State, Gina M. Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce, and Jennifer M. Granholm, Secretary of Energy.
Pemex and CFE
“We write to express our grave concern about reports on the increasing efforts of the Government of Mexico to exclude private companies from its energy sector in contravention of their international commitments, including the USMCA,” they argued.
They stated that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself has recognized the explicit objective of providing preferential treatment to the national energy companies of Mexico, Pemex and the CFE, “in direct contradiction to the USMCA, which his own Administration negotiated and signed”.
Additionally, in June, Mexico’s tax authority amended the General Foreign Trade Rules, prohibiting companies from obtaining or renewing the three-year permits required for fuel terminals to serve as entry and exit points for hydrocarbons.
According to lawmakers, “the overwhelming list of discriminatory actions is long past the point of ‘simply’ raising serious questions about President López Obrador’s commitments to the letter and spirit of the T-MEC.”