Mexican president confident of key reforms in 2013

Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:26am EST
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By Dave Graham and Ana Isabel Martinez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Monday he is confident that reforms to shake up state oil giant Pemex and the country's tax regime, key planks of his drive to accelerate economic growth, will be approved in 2013.

The youthful Pena Nieto took office on December 1 pledging to fire up the economy after years of underperformance, during which it fell behind its big Latin American peer Brazil.

In his election campaign he identified energy and tax reforms as central to raising growth to rates of around six percent per year, or about three times the average rate of the past decade.

Though his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) fell short of a congressional majority in regaining the presidency after 12 years on the sidelines, Pena Nieto is adamant he can pass energy and tax reforms that have foundered in the past.

"I would give a horizon of one year for these reforms," the 46-year-old told Reuters in an interview in Mexico City.

"Next year will be the time for all of it to happen from scratch: presenting the initiative, the necessary consensus to back it up and make them happen, and get the required approval."

He did not provide details on what shape the reforms would take beyond saying that he looked forward to Mexico forging "strategic" tie-ups with the private sector in the oil industry.

Asked whether he could secure the support in Congress to approve his plans, Pena Nieto said he was "very upbeat," noting that he has already signed a pact with the leading political parties to work together on reforms.   Continued...

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks with Reuters at the presidential palace in Mexico City December 10, 2012. Pena Nieto said on Monday he is confident that energy and fiscal reforms, key to boosting the economy, will be approved next year. REUTERS/Claudia Daut