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U.S. Ambassador says Mexico not best place to invest right now

Luis Cortes/ Reuters

“A country can't say it wants to attract investment and capital from other parts of the world while at
the same time changing the rules of the game,” - Christopher Landau, US Ambassador to Mexico

- Sees an opportunity as companies move production out of China
- Calls on Mexican government to stop changing rules of the game

By Andrea Navarro/Bloomberg

MEXICO CITY
Petroleumworld 06 26 2020

Mexico is not the best place to invest your money right now, according to Washington's top official in the country.

The country is frightening away foreign investors by continually changing its rules, said U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau in rare public comments.

“I can't lie to my compatriots and say it's a good time to invest,” Landau said Thursday, at an online conference held by the Concamin business chamber.

Mexico ought to be a natural destination for companies moving some of their production out of China, but there's a risk of that opportunity being missed, Landau said.

Mexico's power market has become the latest battleground in the clash between the country's business sector and the government. Landau's comments came a day after local officials said Spain's Iberdrola SA will cancel a project to build a power plant worth $1.2 billion, after the government sought to limit private renewable energy production and prioritize the state utility.

“Some actions in the energy sector have created uncertainty on the government's promise to respect past decisions and to not change the rules of the game,” Landau said.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning a trip to the U.S. to discuss the new trade deal with President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.

Lopez Obrador and business groups were at odds even before he took office, after he announced the cancellation of a $13 billion airport project already underway before he'd been sworn in. More recently, he shuttered a partly built beer plant in northern Mexico based owned by Constellation Brands Inc .

“A country can't say it wants to attract investment and capital from other parts of the world while at the same time changing the rules of the game,” Landau said. “You can't have it both ways.”

— With assistance by Cyntia Aurora Barrera Diaz

Story by Andrea Navarro from Bloomberg News.

bloomberg.com
06 25 2020

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