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LatinNews Daily - 22 April 2021

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In brief: Mexico’s lower chamber approves reform to bolster Pemex

* Mexico’s chamber of deputies has approved a reform to the country’s hydrocarbons law which would bolster state-run oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) by removing a provision that encouraged competition, introduced in 2014 when the energy market was opened up to private companies under the previous government led by Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). The reform removes an article from the law stipulating that the national energy regulatory commission (CRE) must issue so-called asymmetric regulations to privilege private companies in sales of fuels from Pemex refineries. Approved by 301 votes in favour, 147 against with two abstentions, the bill will now go to the senate. It is part of efforts by the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) government led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to bolster Pemex and the state-owned electricity firm, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). These efforts have been criticised by opposition parties as well as Comisión Federal de Competencia (Cofece), the federal anti-trust body.