Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S. visits UTEP to talk U.S.-Mexico Relations

Elenie Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

The Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, visited UTEP to speak about U.S.-Mexico relations as part of the Centennial Lecture Series on Thursday afternoon.

Gutiérrez, who was appointed by current Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto as Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S. in January, previously served under four presidents in various prominent Mexican federal government positions.

He opened up the lecture by saying that the U.S.-Mexico relations are at a defining and critical moment in its current state.

“If you see the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. over the past 25 years, it has been a very positive one,” Gutiérrez said. “We have had our ups and downs that can only be expected, but the overall relationship has been very positive.”

Gutiérrez said that U.S. and Mexico havebeen better off by engaging in conversations and working together to overcome shared issues and challenges such as immigration, trade and promoting education exchange.

Security issues at the border are another factor that has helped bridge conversations between the U.S. and Mexico. He mentioned that following the events of 9/11, the need to implement more security measures became more evident.

He highlighted how trade is also extremely important to the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. According to Gutiérrez, over $1.5 billion is traded between the two countries every day and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has the contributing factor to this.

“Mexico is a top trading partner with the United States,” Gutiérrez said. “Whether it is Mexico buying products from the U.S. or vice-versa, it has helped both economies in a number of ways.”

Gutiérrez said that it is estimated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that around 5 million positions in the U.S. have been created due to trade from Mexico.

He said that these assumptions have been challenged recently by President Trump’s Administration, which is the reason why U.S.-Mexico relations are in a defining moment.

“Personally, I believe that there is a risk of having a major setback in the bilateral relationship,” Gutiérrez said. “But there is also the opportunity to have a much more mature relationship that works for both sides.”

Currently, the renegotiation of NAFTA is in its fifth round of conversations and it has been tough for Mexico, according to Gutiérrez.

“I encourage you, especially students and Mexican students, to be optimistic that the relationship will better,” Gutiérrez said.

Prior to the lecture, Gutiérrez presented a $17,000 grant from the Government of Mexico that will go towards the IME Scholarship program. The grant will provide financial support to 17 UTEP students who were selected for the award.