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Mexico's lower house approves contentious oil legislation

by Reuters
Thursday, 15 April 2021 00:54 GMT

MEXICO CITY, April 14 (Reuters) - Mexico's lower house of Congress on Wednesday approved changes to existing legislation that could allow the government to revoke private oil companies' permits to import gasoline and other fuels.

The initiative, part of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's efforts to strengthen state influence over the energy market at the expense of private capital, passed with 292 votes in favor, 153 votes against and 11 abstentions.

One of the much-debated parts of the legislation would change Mexico's hydrocarbons law to allow the suspension of permits to import and sell gasoline and other fuels under certain circumstances, including threats to the economy and national security.

The legislation was amended on Wednesday ahead of the vote to ensure such suspensions could be appealed.

The bill now passes to the Senate.

The lower house vote came shortly after Mexico's anti-trust watchdog, known as COFECE, said parts of the reform would affect competition in the industry and raise prices for consumers.

COFECE also said the initiative would generate legal uncertainty in the oil and gas industry and distort the system of oil permits. (Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Adriana Barrera; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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