Mar 27, 2023
Cemex, Vulcan Reach Temporary Pact for Use of Seized Terminal
(Bloomberg) -- Cemex SAB reached a temporary deal to use Vulcan Materials Co.’s port facilities at Punta Venado in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, potentially defusing a legal battle that recently became a flashpoint for US-Mexico relations.
The companies are still working on a long-term agreement, Cemex spokesman Jorge Perez told Bloomberg News on Monday. A Vulcan spokesman didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Vulcan has said it hasn’t had access to the facilities since Cemex employees entered earlier this month escorted by Mexican marines in uniform. That dramatic seizure, captured on video, drew criticism from several US senators, who called it an example of “misguided and counterproductive behavior” by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Operations at Vulcan’s nearby quarry had been shut down since last year in a feud with Lopez Obrador, who accused the company of extracting materials without the proper permits. He reiterated that position last week, accusing Vulcan of “ecocide.”
The White House had also weighed in, with an official from the National Security Council saying last week the administration was aware of the reports and is always concerned about the fair treatment of US companies. Mexico’s ambassador to the US, Esteban Moctezuma, met on Monday with lawmakers Monday from Alabama, where Vulcan is based.
“I am happy to hear that Mexican governmental forces have now heeded our request to withdraw from Vulcan’s port facility, following a nearly two-week unlawful takeover,” wrote Alabama senator Katie Boyd, one of the lawmakers who met Moctezuma, in a statement.
While they are interdependent trade partners, Mexico and the US have been testy neighbors lately. Earlier this month, Lopez Obrador denounced Republican lawmakers who called for sending US troops to bring security to Mexico after a cartel killed two Americans. The countries are also in a trade dispute over Lopez Obrador’s nationalist energy policy.
--With assistance from Eric Martin.
(Updates with comments from Alabama lawmaker in sixth paragraph)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.