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U.S.-Mexico Relations and the Trump Administration

Date & Time

Mar. 21, 2017
9:00am – 1:00pm


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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U.S.-Mexico Relations and the Trump Administration

Key Quotes from the Speakers

Ambassador Geronimo Gutierrez

“I think there is at least a possibility of, in the case of Mexico, reviving an anti-American sentiment that I would say used to be there and that has been somewhat mitigated over the years. And quite frankly there is also the possibility of regenerating, of fostering, a very strong anti-Mexican sentiment in the United States. And I think that would be a huge mistake and that would be extremely detrimental to the overall bilateral relationship.” 

"We can take advantage of our geographical proximity and our natural complementarities to create and maintain an economic relationship, a trade and investment relationship, that is fully open—yes, fair, obviously, but open—and that is in the benefit of both countries.”

“Our security, the security of both countries, is better served to the extent that we are talking to each other, that we are sharing intelligence, and that we are cooperating.”

Chris Wilson

“When Mexico exports, it exports US content. Why? Because we’re feeding into production processes in Mexico. If we put a tax on imports coming in from Mexico, to a lesser extent but to a very important extent, we’re putting a tax on exporters in the US who are feeding production in Mexico.”

“Despite the fact that there are mutual benefits to this relationship, there’s rising trade skepticism. And at the root of that trade skepticism there is a real sense of economic insecurity.”

“There are a huge number of stakeholders throughout the United States that are deeply invested in this economic partnership. Damaging that relationship means there are real costs.”

“We in the United States need to refocus some of the discussion on workforce development.”

Ambassador Carla Hills

“I cannot believe that in the interest of our country we would actually gravitate to pulling out of the NAFTA. Our interlinked supply chains would be devastated. We would lose probably 5 million jobs.”

“The objective of trade is to make you more productive; it has done that in the United States.”

Antonio Ortiz-Mena

“No matter how you slice it, you see that there’s a very high degree of interdependence.”

“We need an agreement that will be able to deal with the future technologies.”

“One way to make the whole region more competitive is to focus on infrastructure, but from a regional perspective as opposed to a national perspective.”

“I cannot underscore this enough: much more than NAFTA is at stake.”

Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne

“Mexico is the one country in the world that touches the daily lives of more US citizens than anywhere else. And it’s so ironic that there is still such misunderstanding and that we fall into such differences of opinion about this.”

“It comes down to money, in a sense, it comes down to the economy…. And NAFTA gets the blame for things that aren’t the fault of NAFTA. It’s new technology, automation, and maybe trade with China that have impacted manufacturing jobs.”

“We really need to take all the potential that is in this North American continent.”

“We need a vision and a plan. It’s not just trade, it’s not just NAFTA, it’s doing a whole agenda of policy and programmatic ideas, and it’s hard work, and we’re not really into that hard work yet.”

Ambassador James R. Jones

“Wealth has been created that benefits a lot of people, at least half the people in Mexico and a number of people in the United States, and that wealth is worth defending. And the problem is in both countries that wealth was not evenly dispersed and distributed and therefore we have great resistance in both countries to continuing on this path.”

“Decades of distrust by the Mexicans and decades of dismissiveness by the Americans was melting and we were developing a real relationship between our two countries and our two peoples [before Trump]. I think that’s one of the biggest disappointments that I’ve found in the new administration coming in, and gratuitously creating rifts between our two countries, that makes it another hurdle that needs to be passed.”

“I disagree that the wall will do anything to protect us… history will look upon this as one of the great misuses of public money. What we really need is an immigration bill.”

“I think the big idea is North American regional economy. But first we have to deal with the folks who drove this last election – white males and others who are employed, quite frankly, but are scared for the future.  And are scared of the future because they see their opportunities and their kids’ opportunities diminished because of social advances.”

Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow

“The best approach to what we are confronting is to educate and illuminate the American public as to the totality of the relationship and how very important it is to us.”

“When confronted with trade disputes in the past and even presently, the Mexican government has been very competent in determining the pressure points in the United States.”

About the Event

The Wilson Center's Mexico Institute is pleased to invite you to our event "U.S.-Mexico Relations and the Trump Administration." Every electoral cycle in the United States or Mexico brings the opportunity to reevaluate the U.S.-Mexico relationship and explore how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. Following the election of President Donald Trump, the greatest importance and challenge is for the two countries to come together and develop a bilateral agenda that is both constructive and meets, at least partially, both of their goals.

At this event, the Mexico Institute will also launch two new reports on the bilateral relationship. The first, Growing Together: Economic Ties Between the United States and Mexico, explores the bilateral economic relationship in detail to understand its nature and its impact on the United States. The second report, Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations, looks forward to a new course in bilateral relations, and provides key recommendations for issues such as security, energy, migration, the economic relationship, and North American cooperation. 

9:00-9:30 am: Challenges and Policy Opportunities for U.S.-Mexico Relations

Amb. Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Mexican Ambassador to the United States; Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center 

9:30-10:15 am - The Importance of a Strategic U.S.-Mexico Partnership 

Moderator: Amy L. Glover, Director, Mexico Practice, McLarty Associates

Amb. Earl A. Wayne, Global Fellow & Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center; Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (2011-2015)

Amb. James R. Jones, Chairman & CEO, ManattJones Global Strategies,  LLC;  Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center; Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (1993-1997)

Amb. Jeffrey Davidow, Senior Counselor, Cohen Group; Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center; Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (1998-2003)

10:15-10:25 am - Coffee Break 

10:25-11:45 am - Charting A New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations

Moderator: Diana Negroponte, Public Policy Fellow, Wilson Center & Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute 

Security:Eric L. Olson, Senior Advisor for Security Policy, Mexico Institute & Associate Director, Latin American Program, Wilson Center

Migration: Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President & Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute, Wilson Center 

Energy: Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center 

Foreign Policy: Amb. Earl A. Wayne, Global Fellow & Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center; Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (2011-2015) & Amb. Arturo Sarukhan, Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center; Careeer Ambassador & Former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. 

11:45-12:45 pm - Growing Together: Economic Ties Between the United States and Mexico 

Christopher Wilson, Deputy Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Amb. Carla Hills, Chair and CEO Hills & Company; Former U.S. Trade Representative

Antonio Ortiz-Mena, Senior Advisor, Albright Stonebridge Group 

12:45 pm - Event Concludes 


Hosted By

Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more

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