Washington, DC, January 26, 2018
The Embassy of Mexico in the United States informs that Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez participated in the “Trade: America and Beyond” panel today as part of the 86th Winter Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. The event was an opportunity to exchange points of view on the impact of free trade at the local level and the importance of strengthening the relationship between countries in North America during the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, moderated the event and began by calling on cities to advocate for free trade at this critical moment. Referring to the relationship between San Diego and Tijuana, he said that “It’s not about 2 cities; the strength is one region.”
For his part, Jason Marczak, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, affirmed that NAFTA is fundamentally part of the U.S. economy, stating that “Without NAFTA, or with a watered-down NAFTA, we all lose. We have a great opportunity to build an agreement that has greatly benefited the U.S. and its NAFTA partners and to make it even better. We can set the standard for the future of trade, but we cannot afford to get it wrong.”
In his remarks, Ambassador Gutiérrez underscored that there are good reasons to improve, update and modernize NAFTA, but always with the end goal of keeping it in place and benefitting the three countries: “Over the course of the past 25 years, NAFTA has become the backbone of the overall North America relationship and whatever happens with NAFTA is going to pretty much set the tone, beyond the economic consequences, of North American cooperation.”
The Canadian Ambassador to the United States, David Macnaughton, highlighted the importance that NAFTA has had for North American competitiveness, and the challenge that arriving at a good agreement that allows the region to maintain its place on the global stage: “In the next 10,15 years, our competitors are getting more aggressive, tougher, people are investing in technology, we will have to keep up. What we’ll have to do is look at the NAFTA negotiation as an opportunity to grow all our economies and make sure this region is the most competitive region in the world,” he said.
Finally, mayors Juan Manuel Gastélum and Don Iveson, of Tijuana and Edmonton, respectively, discussed the positive impacts that regional integration has had over the past few years, emphasizing the importance of job creation and the increase in the flow of goods and persons, something extraordinarily important for communities.
These types of meetings are part of the agenda which the Ambassador and other officials from the foreign ministry regularly conduct to identify areas of agreement and collaboration with key actors in this country.