Mexican ambassador: Mexico-US relations at 'critical point'

Ambassador Geronimo Gutierrez covers crucial issues

SAN ANTONIO – During his visit to San Antonio this week, Geronimo Gutierrez, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, said he stands by what he told the Mexican Senate during his confirmation in January.

“I mentioned that I thought the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship was at a critical point,” Gutierrez said. “The possibility, I emphasize, of a major setback or derailment is there.”

Gutierrez said, “This is the first time we’ve had, in my view, such a strong disagreement over many things,” since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement nearly 25 years ago.

Issues such as Mexico’s refusal to pay for a border wall, a condition promised by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, the spread of anti-immigrant rhetoric and the passage of Senate Bill 4, also known as the "sanctuary cities" law, by the Texas Legislature have been covered widely in Mexico.

Gutierrez said the possibility is within reach of a “more mature and beneficial relationship” if both sides make the effort to calmly reach a consensus.

As the former managing director of the North American Development Bank in San Antonio before becoming the ambassador, Gutierrez also is aware of what’s at stake in the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations.

Gutierrez said Mexico wants free and fair trade with no further restrictions than what is already in the existing agreement.

Still, NAFTA needs to be updated, Gutierrez said, to include what didn’t exist more than two decades ago, such as e-commerce and Mexico reforming its energy industry. He said better manufacturing job opportunities and environmental protections also should be part of the negotiations.

Gutierrez said thanks to NAFTA, “Mexico has transformed itself and its economy.”

He said the strength and success of the U.S. and Mexico are in the interest of both countries.

“We’re friends. We’re partners. We’re not foes. Friends, not foes," Gutierrez said.

WEB EXTRA: Watch all of Gutierrez's exclusive interview below:


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About the Author:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.