Mexico president taps tax agency head for Economy Department

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Friday he has chosen the head of the country’s tax agency to fill the cabinet-level post of secretary of the economy.

The designation of Raquel Buenrostro for the post comes one day after the emotional resignation of Tatiana Clouthier.

Buenrostro, who has served for more than two decades in government tax, treasury and economic agencies, was welcomed by Mexico’s Business Coordinating Council, which said in a statement “we trust in her ability to contribute to the economic development of the public and companies.”

However, Clouthier had been seen as a link to Mexico’s business community, a role Buenrostro is unlikely to fill.

While Clouthier came from a conservative background and was in touch with northern Mexico’s industrial elite, as head of the tax collection agency Buenrostro has led a relentless and often tense campaign to force companies to pay more taxes.

Clouthier resigned Thursday in an emotional speech in which her voice broke as she thanked the president, but in which she gave no specific reason for her departure.

Buenrostro will face a number of U.S. trade tensions. Mexico is currently locked in a controversy with the United States over plans to favor Mexico’s state-owned electrical utility over private and foreign companies.

López Obrador has had persistent difficulties in maintaining links with the business community.

Other cabinet members with business ties had previously resigned, including former chief-of-staff Alfonso Romo, who López Obrador described as his “main liaison” to the business sector.

Carlos Urzua resigned as treasury secretary in 2019.

López Obrador has enacted policies to raise minimum wages and promote the kind of big, government-owned enterprises that his predecessors had trimmed.

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