Legislative logjam eases as Mexico passes competition bill

MEXICO CITY, April 29 Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:26pm EDT

MEXICO CITY, April 29 (Reuters) - Mexico's lower house of Congress voted to approve an economic competition bill on Tuesday, helping clear the path for other pending legislation, including a package of energy laws aimed at implementing a sector overhaul passed late last year.

The competition bill, which would empower a newly autonomous antitrust regulator, was one of several pieces of legislation awaiting approval, as the regular congressional session is set to adjourn on Wednesday.

The Senate approved the competition bill last week, which now goes to Institutional Revolutionary Party President Enrique Pena Nieto for his signature.

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 to overhaul the telecommunications and energy sectors.

The opposition conservative National Action Party, which the ruling party has relied on to back energy reform, demands that Congress first approve an electoral reform before supporting laws that hash out the fine print of the energy overhaul.

The secondary laws that will implement the energy reform, including tax and commercial terms for new contracts, are expected to be delayed until a special congressional session held next month.

Once the secondary laws are set, state-owned oil company Pemex is expected to seek out joint venture partners in a bid to boost crude output, which has slid by a quarter over the past nine years. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by David Gregorio)

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