MEXICO CITY, March 26 (Reuters) - Mexico's president on
Friday invited the heads of some of the country's most prominent
companies to defend energy policies of his predecessors, which
he says give the private sector preferential treatment.
"Big business corporations and retail chains pay lower rates
than consumers for household consumption... and we believe those
subsidies paid with the people's money should disappear,"
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a regular news
The president and executives of state-owned power company,
the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), have criticized
energy laws enacted by previous administrations, as well as the
companies benefiting from those policies. Lopez Obrador
characterized the lower prices paid by companies as a
state-sponsored subsidy and called them an "injustice."
But, Lopez Obrador added, it was only fair that the
beneficiaries of former President Enrique Pena Nieto's policies
have the right to reply.
He invited the bosses of Walmart's Mexico unit (Walmex)
, conglomerate Femsa, breadmaker Grupo
Bimbo, and Spain's Iberdrola to debate the
existing laws at the presidential palace in Mexico City, without
specifying a time.
The so-called independent power producer contracts were
signed by companies including Bimbo and Walmart and predate the
Peña Nieto administration. They were designed to offer discounts
on long-term power supply if companies invested in renewable
Lopez Obrador also invited representatives of local
newspapers Reforma and El Universal, as well as Spain's El Pais
to come to the debate, arguing the media has taken the side of
the private sector against his energy policies.
Last week, a Mexican court ordered a definitive suspension
of Lopez Obrador's contentious new electricity law, which seeks
to strengthen CFE. The president called for the Supreme Court to
settle the matter.
Lopez Obrador noted that Bimbo and Walmex both filed legal
challenges against the law. He described the appeals as an
effort to maintain favorable terms from prior regulation.
Walmex declined to comment. Femsa and Bimbo did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito and David Alire Garcia; writing
by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Aurora Ellis, Rosalba O'Brien
and David Gregorio)