2013-12-12 09:58:30

Mexico votes to open oil industry to foreigners

(Vatican Radio) Mexico's Senate has historically voted for the opening up of the country's oil industry to international investment, for the first time in 75 years. The legislation has been approved in the Mexican Senate by 95 votes to 28. It is now being debated by the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, the majority of whose members are also in favour.

The aim is to boost Mexico's flagging oil industry. Its production has plummeted by 25 percent since 2004. International companies will be permitted to operate independently or in partnership with State petroleum company PEMEX, via production linked to profit sharing, as well as service contracts and licenses.

Mexico's left wing parties who are adamantly opposed are launching a campaign claiming national resources are being sold off to the highest bidder. One of the main opponents is Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, who's the founder of the Party of Democratic Revolution. It was his Father Lazaro who as Mexico's President nationalized oil in 1938, and expelled international petroleum companies.

Listen to James Blears’ report: RealAudioMP3

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