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The CCE fights back after CFE head threatens to cancel contracts without compensation

Mexico City, Mexico — The Business Coordinating Council (CCE) is fighting back after verbal attacks by Mexico’s CFE head Manuel Bartlett. On Friday, Bartlett said that the current electricity reform “is robbery against the people of Mexico”, while threatening to cancel contracts without compensation if the reform is approved.

In response to the 85-year-old’s remarks and threats, the Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (CCE) said “with the recent declarations it is evident that the respect and fulfillment of the laws and the Constitution in our country are in serious risk and the solution is not that a group of people dictate unconstitutional norms.”

The clash between the business community and the Government of Mexico have been ongoing since president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) sent the electricity reform to Congress. The revised reform seeks to reverse the opening of the sector to private investment, which began in 2013.

The CCE has warned that investors will go to international panels to protect the $44 billion (USD) of investment that they consider at risk of confiscation or indirect expropriation. However, the director of the CFE said that the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) would not pay any compensation.

In response, the CCE has since asked the government not to fall into ” rovocation” or “polarization.”

“We citizens want to prevent the government from arbitrarily violating and bypassing legal containment dikes, because then it would be admissible for anyone to do so,” they said.

Since he assumed power in 2018, López Obrador has opposed the energy reform of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, which opened the sector to private companies whom he accuses of “looting” and seeing Mexico as “land of conquest”.

The CCE, which represents more than 2,000 business associations and 80% of Mexico’s GDP, questioned the rhetoric against private investment.

“Using nationalism as a pretext to undermine our rule of law is really an attack against all of us. It is an attack against the system that has cost us so many years to build, and against the legal precepts that protect us from the arbitrariness of authoritarianism,” they added.

He also called for “a sustained and responsible vote” to Congress, where the parties have promised an open parliament in the absence of clear consensus to reach the qualified two-thirds majority required by constitutional reform.

“No to provocation and polarization, yes to respectful dialogue to maintain a strong, healthy and competitive electricity industry,” the CCE posted on social media.