MEXICO CITY – Mexico's president signed new energy reforms into law on Monday, claiming they will allow the country to secure its own energy supplies for the future.
The laws signed by President Enrique Pena Nieto at an event in the National Palace will reform energy companies' powers and financial structure, giving them more freedom to associate with foreign companies.
"Those laws have been the most discussed in the legislative history of Mexico," said Pena Nieto. "With this reform we can extract oil from deep waters and take our fields to generate more electricity at lower cost. The country will reduce its dependence on foreign energy and ensure its safety."
He said the energy companies will remain public but the reform will give them a degree of greater autonomy that will help them increase their international competitiveness.
"We have experienced a refreshing period for the country's history: we've achieved reforms in education, telecommunications, politics and fiscal matters," said Gustavo Madero, head of the opposition National Action Party. "With this energy reform, great possibilities for Mexico, who had been denied for decades, will open."
The reforms were approved in Congress last week after 170 hours of discussions and faced opposition from some on the political left, who believe the reforms will mean relinquishing control of the country's resources.
The leftist Party of Democratic Revolution's deputy Fernando Belaunzaran said it was "naive" to think that co-operation with transnational companies would allow Mexico to maintain control of its resources.
"With the energy reform, the Mexican State leaves the rectory of strategic resources to become a sales agent," said Belaunzaran.
Another of the party's politicians, Luis Esponoza said: "With this reform, there will some who benefit, but they are not the Mexicans."
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