Competition bill passes Mexico's Senate, easing legislative logjam

MEXICO CITY, April 25 Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:37pm EDT

MEXICO CITY, April 25 (Reuters) - Mexico's Senate voted to approve an economic competition bill on Friday, sending it to the lower house for its consideration and helping to clear the way for other pending legislation, including laws that will implement a sweeping energy reform.

The competition bill, aimed at weakening the industrial heft wielded by a handful of families, is one of several pieces of legislation awaiting approval as the regular congressional session draws to a close at the end of this month.

Lawmakers face a legislative logjam that includes a pending electoral reform, as well as so-called secondary laws designed to implement constitutional reforms passed last year that overhaul the telecommunications and energy sectors.

The opposition conservative National Action Party, which President Enrique Pena Nieto has relied on to back the energy reform, insists that Congress first sign off on the electoral reform before the oil sector overhaul can pass.

The eagerly awaited fine print of the energy reform, legislation that will set regulations and commercial terms for new contracts, will likely be delayed until at least May when a special session is expected.

Once the energy laws are set, state-run oil company Pemex is widely expected to ink joint ventures with international oil majors in a bid to boost crude output after a decade in which production declined from 3.38 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2004 to 2.52 million bpd last year.

Pemex said on Friday that March crude output fell to 2.47 million bpd, the company's lowest level of production since 1995. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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