Given the level of opposition south of the border, theInterstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) said itsplans to forego for the next couple of years its efforts topersuade Mexico to lift its tariff on natural gas.

“We’re not going to push for repeal of the tariff now. Butperhaps in the next few years the Mexican government would beinterested in revisiting the issue,” a spokeswoman for the pipelinegroup noted. “It seems futile to raise it now,” she said.

INGAA decided to temporarily shelve the issue after natural gaswas pulled from the “illustrative list of agreed tariff reductions”in May following a NAFTA Ministerial meeting with Canada andMexico. This action was taken when the United States could notagree to the terms under which Mexico said it would remove thetariff on gas.

The Mexican government proposed eliminating the gas tariff inthree stages, ending in October 1999, if the United States wouldremove immediately its tariffs on an unrelated product, purifiedterephthalic acid (PTA). But the proposal was strongly opposed byPTA producers in this country, and as a result failed.

Pipeline companies are seeking to lift the tariff on gas becausethey claim it puts U.S. pipelines that transport natural gas to theUnited States-Mexican border at a distinct disadvantage withMexican natural gas providers.

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