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tv   Discussion on U.S.- Mexico Relations  CSPAN  February 17, 2021 4:36am-5:40am EST

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this is hosted by the center for
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strategic and international studies. it is about an hour. quick some going to use the term retirement in a very loose sense. >> i want to congratulate you early, had the birth of your second grandchild this week so i want to offer our warmest congratulations to you and your family on this wonderful moment. >> thank you very much. i am approaching this retirement with an attitude that it's just the next stage in which i could continue to contribute to
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mexico's, to the bilateral relationship from other fora. and i also take the opportunity to give more time to my family, being a grandmother is great and it is always been great for everyone. but i think the pandemic has also made us think what is really important in life and how we should prioritize certain moments in your life. and there's now i think it's time to spend, to spend, it's time to spend more time with my family. so i'm happy with this but i'm sure that we will keep in touch, and not only with you, my dear friend, but with all the friends of mexico. >> let's start, ambassador, you joined the foreign service in 1979.
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you must have been ten years old when you started. >> 21. >> but you have served in various capacities, several ambassadorships. can you tell us a little bit about what prompted you to join the foreign service? were there a lot of women in the mexican foreign service in 1979? >> in my generation we were 50% women, 50% men. it was one of the first generation. it was equal number. what made me join the foreign service is i always had great interest in international affairs and in history. but i was also a classical ballet dancer, and i wanted to become a dancer, a professional dancer. i was a professional dancer in a mexican national company, but then i started to have a lot of physical problems. so i thought that it was better
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to rely on my head and not on my head and on my body. so i finished university, and since i was a child, my grandfather used to take me and he would show me where you study political science and diplomacy. he was a great foreign minister of mexico come great director general of unesco. and he told me here yesterday to become a diplomat like my friend. i said, what is diplomat? i was like eight years old. he said you represent your country and you do it well with intelligence. so that remained in my mind when i joined the university. there had been moments which was the women strike, so the
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calendar of the high schools were noncompatible. you had to wait like a year to go into the university. so i went to a private university in mexico, and they didn't have the career of international affairs, of international relations. but they had communication which i thought it was a very attractive career to study because you had a very broad number of issues that were addressed. in that time it was more based on humanities and philosophy than on technical issues. and i started studying international communication, freedom of expression at international level, and you may remember -- the young people will not remember, but the was at those times a discussion of
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the new world economic order, and the nonaligned movement were also speaking about the new world information order. so i got into study all these matters, and in due time when the foreign ministry made a call for exams to join the mexican foreign service, then i decided to join and i passed exams. and i did that more than 14 years. sometimes taking leave of absences to follow my husband is also diplomatic, retired. it is been a great experience, and more than an experienced, the passion of my life to represent my country, to be able to establish communication bridges, communication, my communication studies never
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abandoned me and i never abandoned them. so just keep a lot of attention on empathy, on feedback, an understanding on explaining your position well and that has been the passion of my life. i will continue to do it from other fora, but that's the story of why i joined the foreign service. >> ambassador, you are ambassador to denmark, turkey, georgia, azerbaijan, among other countries and also mexico's ambassador to rome so you had a very storied career. >> yes. >> i want to pass over your time in these other countries but of -- i want to for a minute as your time represented to mexico in the -- you learn when you were mexico's represent you were going to become mexico's
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ambassador to the united states. would you please tell the story he told me at dinner that makes me laugh? >> yes. i was based in rome to the world food program which is a fantastic authorization. i asked my friend to represent -- i asked my friend, a prayer -- a representative of the vatican to please help me to have farewell appointment with pope francis. he organized that so i have met pope francis twice, but in a big, you know, big groups. and so i had this private audience for minutes on a wednesday, and i say your holiness, i am coming to say goodbye and to seek your benediction, because i will be posted soon to a very challenging post.
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and he asked me, we were speaking in spanish. i'm going to be the ambassador to the u.s., and he just started laughing. [laughter] that is a challenge. >> he said that's the challenge? >> he started laughing and said, well, you will have a huge task. we were talking for a while about immigration, migrants, you know, poverty. at the end of the conversation he said, but you also have to pray for me. we all need prayers. >> wow. >> it was a very moving conversation, which i have photographs of them. and i think it showed that pope francis understood quite well the challenge and the relevance of being the mexican ambassador
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to the u.s. because on a reflexive mode in the last weeks in talking to colleagues that they have asked me how did you manage, how did you proceed? mexico has become for the u.s. not a foreign policy issue more and more as a domestic problems. we are so integrated that, as i said, sometimes my main interlocutor was that the secretary of state or the state department, but always dhs. >> wow. let's talk about that because i think, i don't think people, unless you follow mexico closely, they won't recognize how incredibly important mexico is to the american economy. could you say a couple of facts that you and i both know but many other people in this -- but i think just for the
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record it's important to share? i think we can't see this enough. just some of the things you and i know about the economic relationship between mexico and the united states. is quite critical to both of our countries. we have a shared future. >> it is absolutely critical. it's true that we have shared future, and i think that in mexico we've always acknowledged that the u.s. is key for us, the -- for our development. but sometimes in the u.s. there isn't that acknowledgment of the importance of mexico. but we are now either the first or the second trading partner of the u.s. >> hold on that for just a second. i apologize for interrupting you. you have been for the first time in 400 years, sometime in the last two years, the number one trading partner of the united states is mexico, not canada, not china, mexico. >> and so in 2019 our trade reached 614 billion u.s.
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dollars. >> enormous. >> enormous. much more than the gdp of many countries. and just to have an idea, we trade $1.2 million per minute. we trade $1.2 million per minute through the 57 ports of entry by land. we trade 80% come all the trade takes place through land ports of entry, others through seaports of entry or air. and mexico is the first or second market for 26 states for exports. and our main partner in these data is texas. we trade with texas $216 billion a year, which is really amazing. it's almost $800 million a day.
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and then our second partner is california with a trade of almost $80 billion. our third trade partner is michigan. we trade with michigan 69 billion u.s. dollars, almost 70. >> michigan? >> michigan for number three. >> texas and california, but you put a gun to my head and say what's the third, i would've said arizona or florida. michigan? >> we are more important for arizona's economy than for michigan, but -- the global is michigan. just for you to understand, the trade of mexico with michigan is similar to the trade of the u.s. with brazil. >> my gosh.
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>> mexico trades with the u.s., an enormous amount, but it's not only the trade, its integration of the value chains. companies are going to have more than 56, 70, 50, 60 60 suppliers in 26 states of mexico. the other day the president was saying a company identified, i remember which company, use company was, identified that they had 200 suppliers in mexico. so if sicko's value chain -- if mexico's value chain collapses, the u.s. economy collapses. if the u.s. chain collapses, mexico economy will almost disappeared. this is also with canada. i don't think many americans realize the importance of mexico --
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>> north america, not just the united states as a matter of our economy. >> because i don't think you can speak to about mexico's economy or u.s. economy or canada's economy without realizing that they cannot be independent. they are totally integrated. so it's a north american economy. >> i just want to hammer home two other points. there are number of important and mexican company set invested in the united states. could you tell one or two stories about that? i don't think we think in those terms either. >> yes, i think the mexican companies have invested recently in the u.s. more than $30 billion and they give a lot of employment. some of them are very well known and some of them that are not so well known, maybe.
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most americans will know or identify by the name mission foods. it's the largest producer of corn flour in the world. it's a global company and they produce of course for two years. they produce also, nachos, everything. it's the largest corn flour producer in world. so it is geared for the agro food industry. they are based in dallas and they have, if my memory doesn't fail me, they have more than 25 factories around the u.s. >> it is a mexican company and they have -- there u.s. operations are in dallas. >> yes. the u.s. operations are in dallas. of course they are based in mexico. of course. they are in egypt. they are all around the world. >> so they are the saudi arabia
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of cornflower. >> you can call them that. >> tell me, give me another example of the mexican company investing in the united states creating jobs? whenever about this but there's tons of these come lots of examples. >> bimbo. the fourth-largest confection in the world. breadmaker. they bought about four years ago sara lee. so it's a huge mexican company. i think it's the most important in mexico also global company. ,they have the best logistics that you could imagine, and, of course, they are also more than 30 factories in the u.s. >> do they own twinkies? >> i don't think so because that is wonder but i would have to
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double check but they are famous in mexico. >> and also for the white bread that they do. >> yes, yes. so basically they are great but there are other companies that are smaller. for example, -- i'm sure you have never heard of them. they have like nine plants in the u.s. and what is what they do? they manufacture most of the aluminum cans for tuna, for beer, and there also a full -- a successful mexican company, family-owned, not stock listed. so we can talk about this and, of course, you have some investments of the great tv networks in mexico, but another thing, that we're having more and more also, small and medium
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businessmen, mexican businessmen that are established, or businesswomen, of course that are establishing themselves here. one of the areas of opportunity that we have for the future is this interaction of the mexican businessman and businesswoman, business persons, with the mexican american and hispanic business person to tackle specifically the very special hispanic market, which has several different taste, maybe, in food but also in clothing, a , -- in music, in cultural industries producing together in spanish. this is something i want to announce that just yesterday we signed an agreement with the mexican company that is led by a
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great tv producer. to start, first we will make of goal for young mexican-americans to write scripts for series to be produced about the mexican american community, about migration and be produced with -- this is something that we're just seeing the beginning of a new era of interaction. because what we are seeing in the last years in the u.s. is the total transformation and empowerment of the hispanic community. and in that hispanic community mexican american community, the mexican community is the largest. >> ambassador, let me push further. i want to come back to the changing demography because i think it's really important. let me push in one other thing. i understand that mexico makes more cars today than japan. is that true? >> yes.
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>> it's true that mexico is a very large auto manufacturer? >> yes. we are one of the largest automobile manufactures in mexico. >> mexico is one of the largest manufacturers in the world of cars, right? >> if my memory doesn't fail me we are like the sixth or fourth largest manufacturer and exporter of cars. i wouldn't say, there's something i want to underline. i wouldn't say that mexico manufactures cars. i would say they are north american cars. >> thank you, yes. there's a whole manufacturing supply chain, a north american supply chain. a critical component of this north american supply chain of auto manufacturing is in mexico. similar to aviation you were talking about earlier. >> one piece of a car sometimes
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crosses the border seven times. >> my word. >> before the car is finally assembled either in mexico or in canada and the u.s. if you go into in-depth analysis, for example, of tioga -- toyota or general motors, they have final assembly lines of certain models in mexico but in other models in canada and certain models in the u.s. so to speak about the u.s. auto industry, the mexican auto industry or the canadian auto industry is not, it does reflect the reality. you have to speak about the north american auto industry. when we speak about the north american auto industry, we not only speak about the big three americans, general motors and
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ford and chrysler now with all the names, but we also are a global platform for global production for the cars, toyota, subaru, kia, volvo, mercedes-benz, bmw, audi, volkswagen. they are all present in the north american region, and so we have to speak about the north american auto industry and how integrated we are and how we are a platform for export, not only for the north american market but for latin america, asia, africa. so if we really want to underline what is the future of the north american region, we have to study the integration of the auto industry and we have to work for the competitiveness of north america. >> this is very important, thank
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you. related to what we just said you , could argue it's an update to nafta, -- a successful mission here in the united states, ambassador is that usmca got done in your watchmen people like our friend jim breyer who is senior advisor at csis, who played a key role in that and loves mexico, one of mexico's greatest friends and i know there are folks side people like my friend ambassador tony wayne was a former ambassador to mexico, played a key role and is also a senior advisor at csis so could you talk a minute about usmca and this got done, there's still some loose ends to work out in terms of implementation, but could you talk more about your hopes about this trade and what you think it opportunities are within north america? i would welcome that given the context of usmca. >> yes. i think usmca as you well
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underlined -- it took a lot of effort, and usmca is not only a free trade agreement if it's an investment agreement because in certain areas like the auto industry, it tightens the rules of origin. the tightening is more for the north american region. if you want to sell in the north american region, you have to produce cars that apply with these new rules of origin that ask you to have higher regional content. -- original content. it is technically -- it's long to explain but it implies to have these very high level of content or parts of vehicle but also on having a certain kind of
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steel and aluminum, etc. but also usmca, it's a new template as speaker pelosi said in a way, new template for the trade agreements that we will see in the future. that includes labor, specifications, labor rights -- it includes standards and it includes a branch of new chapters that were not included in nafta, like digital trade, like mechanisms to incorporate to the value chains of small and medium enterprises, like how to take into account the opinion of indigenous communities, gender issues, cultural industries. so i think we are, the three countries, we're learning and will enter a new stage now with
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the new ustr which by the way was very much involved in all the ratification process of usmca so she knows usmca by heart. we will enter this new state of implementations of finishing all the establishment of the committees and processes that are contemplated in usmca, and to show to the world that this kind of new templates for trade can be the model and that we can progress. and it is our responsibility of the u.s., mexico, and canada to prove that this is a way of going forward. different estimates from different, you know, companies or people who concentrate on analysis, trade analysis would think that trade can grow quite
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a lot. and then we have a huge challenge which is to improve our infrastructure and logistics, both in canada/u.s. border and mexico-u.s. border. but we can go and talk about that on how are you going to bring more investment to the north american region. >> to be continued ambassador, , let me press on this because there's a little -- maybe it's not so -- there's a kind of perception among some in the business committee that president amlo is not seen as pro-business. and there's a hope that the biden-harris administration, along with the business community, both in mexico and the united states may be all of north america will convince president amlo to move any more -- in a more pro-business direction. could you react to that perception? what is your reaction to that? >> i think that it's not a very
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accurate perception. i think that the perception that present lopez obrador is not open, or not favorable to the private sector is not, it doesn't exactly portray what he thinks. and because most of the criticism has been concentrated on the decisions or the position on energy issues, and you have to remember that our energy system in mexico and in the u.s. have been different for many, many, many years. so the u.s. energy sector was always private. the mexican sector after 1938 was a national energy sector, and then the electricity in 1954 or a little bit later. so then we slowly started to
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open up to more private business participation in the energy sector, which was totally closed. in that opening up to the private sector, i think we did many things right, and some others maybe not so right. and i say this because i was the mexican ambassador to norway when the last energy reform was adopted in mexico, which was basically based on the norwegian model. and i say basically because we did not follow the norwegian model in key issues that we have made it more efficient. so, we opened up slowly to the private sector, and in that opening up, some decisions were taken very fast, and we did not
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have, sometimes, the orderly development that we wanted. what president over door -- with the president wants is to bring back some order to the energy sector so that they are viable companies for the future. dir. runde: cse? amb. barcena: cse. the main question in cse's it seems we have an imbalance in how much electricity is produced with the distribution grid. so sometimes mexico as a whole, both public and private, we can produce a lot of electricity from different sources. but we don't have sometimes the distribution agreed that we need to properly distribute that energy throughout the country.
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so -- and in that process, the perception in mexico of cse is that the hydroelectric plants of cse that are basically concentrated in the southern part of mexico were not used at full capacity because if they were used to full -- if they were used at full capacity, and there would be an excessive electricity coming from the hydropower, from the wind power in the region which is the largest wind power area of mexico. so what we are trying to do is to give priority to the hydropower plants. i think that this law initiative the president instructed me to take congress, it will be openly discussed.
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that has been announced. i hope in that discussion and debate, we will find some may be points of contact in the mexico of the future. having said that, in the energy sector, we have differences, and we need to explain better what is the position of president luis over door -- obrador's government. in other areas, mexico is completely open to private investment. they were telling me an extension they are having for export. they tripled their capacity to produce n95 respirators in mexico, from 700,000 to almost 2 million in the next year. i think other private sector investments are happening in mexico. so we should not confuse the differences and discussions we are having on the energy sector
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with a general position of the mexican government against the private sector, because that is not true. we are open, the government, for the private sector. it is true we have different perceptions and approaches from the energy sector. dir. runde: ambassador, something else i have noticed -- there is a term in the american media called "prompt arrangement syndrome," which maybe it is true, maybe it is not. i think there is a form of and low -- amlo derangement syndrome among many of my friends in mexico. they have this almost irrational reaction to president amlo. my view is he is the president of mexico for the next four years. i don't want to ask you to psychologically explain that, because it is striking to me the negative animus.
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could you react to that? amb. barcena: yes, it is also striking to me. when i arrived here, a lot of people told me, you know, the communication with the trump administration would be impossible, very difficult. well, we have differences, but it was not impossible. it was not difficult. we have people at the state department who helped a lot. jared kushner at the white house, the national security council, the white house in general. i mean, many times with dhs, i tell anecdotes about my almost monthly meetings with krista nielsen -- and they would make fun of me. the other day, my friends said they knew that i would say, "let me explain to you." here comes
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the mexican ambassador to tell us we are wrong. but the communication was possible. and i think it is the same with president lopez over door -- with president obrador. he listens. you can talk to him. you can explain to him. it's just that maybe there has been a lack of appropriate channels of communication at different levels of the government and interactions. one piece of these challenges is because in certain areas there is an understanding of how important it is to talk with the private sector and engage with the private sector. some of the officials in mexico, they have never been officials before. they are afraid that if they
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engage in a conversation with the private sector, they will be accused of yielding to the interests of the private sector, and not acting from the public benefit point of view. i think it has to be understood by both sides that when you engage in a conversation, in a dialogue with certain issues that have -- that could be delicate, neither the private sector can expect that the officials have changed their mentality or their mind or point of view just because the private sector asks, and in the public sector, the officials would have to understand that engaging with the private sector does not mean that they are being corrupt or guilty, yielding to interests. but they have to find points in common. maybe we will need a little bit of diplomacy inside mexico for that. dir. runde: i think we would
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love to help the mexican government and the north american private sector engage. that is something which is in the back of my mind. someone needs to play that role, and we are available for that. amb. barcena: we have to think of that, because i would assume it is fairly important to dismiss the misconceptions about the mexican government and president obrador's position toward private business, which is open. dir. runde: we are 40 minutes and and i have not talked about migration yet. i know it is a sensitive topic. another migration at the border between mexico and the united states is going to swamp or crowd out other issues. we just had a fruitful discussion about so many other important issues we have in a relationship as part of the north american economy, but this
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is going to swamp our relations. i don't have to tell you this. most of the folks crossing the border are not from mexico. they are from central america or other places. mexico has net migration. you and i know this. there have been more mexicans going back to mexico then mexicans coming to the united states. one of the reasons you know this, ambassador, is when a country hits $8,000 per capita, which mexico did in 2005 because it reformed its economy over decades and opened its economy, and is now a global industrial player, as you have described -- people don't want to migrate. they want to stay where they are. mexico is a member of the oecd, the wealthy market democracies. having said all that, what are
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we going to do if there is a border crisis? how do we manage the issue of migration together? amb. barcena: i don't think there will be a border crisis. i think there could be if we don't take the appropriate measures in time. we see a situation in central america that needs to be addressed urgently. there are two tracks or options in central america now. the tradition we might just share with central american brothers is a lack of continuity for young people. they become the prey of organized crime and have to migrate. we have to enhance the opportunities. this is a long-term view of addressing migration.
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private sector investment, but also public sector in logistics -- but this is long-term. we have an urgent crisis which is a result of the two hurricanes of last year. if in central america you already had a crisis of lack of opportunities -- you remember the concept of the dry corridor of central america. 60% of the migrants from the border came from the rural area. they left the coffee plantations. and then with the hurricane. we have to act with the short and medium-term access for urgent aid, and not a just given away, but using the tools that are already there. for example, do you know that
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the most successful transit system run by the ws p is in andorra? it is as simple as the u.s. saying part of the money paid to the wfp has to be channeled to the cash-based transfer system in andorra, so people stay there and build their communities. this is the kind of urgent assistance that we have to work together. and then of course we have to find a way of dealing with the families that are migrating. i think giving a great importance to family reunification in the migratory system would be key.
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there have to be legal paths for people to come. one path that has been very successful with mexico and the central americans is, for agriculture, to increase maybe the ceiling of h2 be -- h2b visas. you see industries like the crab industry in maryland almost going bankrupt because they do not have the visas and do not have workers. there are certain tweaks that can be done in the short and medium-term that will diminish the pressure very much. family reunification, the visas, elevating, increasing the caps for h2b visas, and emergency aid
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. progress is already there. you are not going to create programs, but use what you have there. that would help you to control the short and medium-term pressure. a long-term attitude of addressing the root causes of migration is an area of total coincidence between president obrador and the biden-harris administration. they are totally convergent on that priority. dir. runde: let me just put something on the table. i put out an article a couple of years ago saying we ought to repurpose the north american development bank, which was set up through nafta, to broaden its remit to include the mexican southern border and perhaps the three countries of the northern triangle. i am not asking you for official policy, but what is your reaction to that? amb. barcena: i think we started this during the unit -- the
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negotiations of usmca. we thought it was necessary to repurpose the bank. it is easier said than done, because you have to change the charter that gave you that bank. dir. runde: perhaps that is something we can work on together when you retire. amb. barcena: this is not easy. the border communities, when they listen to this, they are very worried, and they are right, because they say we have so many needs to comply with the current purpose -- worker sanitation, logistics. we would need to increase the resources of the bank by three or four times to be able to cover the needs of the border, the northern border of mexico, the southern border of the u.s.
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and -- dir. runde: out of area. amb. barcena: antigo out of area. i would be more audacious than you are. i think more than a bank for the border, we need to think of a bank that takes care of the poorest regions in the three countries of north america in a way similar to the stabilization funds of the european union, because it's true that there is a need of huge investment in canada and the u.s. and mexico. and maybe if you analyze not nationally but regionally and locally, you will find some similarities in certain areas. but this is a dream for the next 10, 15 years. it will level the playing field.
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dir. runde: ambassador, i want to make sure i get to this -- very interesting questions have been sent to us. one is about -- there is a woman from amnesty international who asked how you applied a gender perspective in your time as ambassador. my understanding is -- this is my words, not hers -- there is a feminist foreign policy. can you talk -- what is that? you are female and you are an ambassador, so talk to us a little bit about what it is like having been the first mexican ambassador to happen to be a woman. amb. barcena: i think i applied the gender perspective in a very practical way. one of the practical ways is i look at the heads of section at the embassy and see, well, we have more men than women. let's see if we can promote some of the women so we have more
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balance. a more balanced x-ray of the heads of section at the embassy. i would ask for example my congress section two particularly concentrate on getting the interviews with women senators and with congresswomen. so i could engage with them. because covid came, we could do something that i was talking with debbie dingell particularly , which was to get together the women ambassadors in washington with the congresswomen. and to see if we could find points of coincidence, the congresswomen with mexico specifically, and see which we could advance. i have a good relationship with
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several congresswomen that are really close to my heart now, like zoe lofgren, like rosa -- i like her so much. and debbie dingell. that was a very practical way of doing it. and of course senator kyrsten sinema, former senator martha mcsally. joni ernst. i really enjoyed -- claire mccaskill. i really enjoyed my conversation with the woman politicians, because they were always very constructive. they were always very constructive, and that was another area that i worked very hard. we were also working basically
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with a network of consulates in the u.s. and my consulate in washington, on domestic violence. and i made the specific point of engaging on this issue with the women leaders of the mexican community in the region of maryland, virginia, west virginia, because with covid, domestic violence went up. this is something that really worries us. we were working with the foreign minister and the network of consulates to focus on these matters. when i went to visit some of my consulates of mexico, that unfortunately because of mexico i could not visit them all, one of my priorities was to meet with the leaders of the mexican community, and particularly with young female leaders. if you see the gender of my trips, i always met with them. i listened to them.
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and domestic violence was one issue. the second was -- it was something very psychological. we said, how do we educate our children to make them proud of their mexican origin, and to make them proud to be immigrants and not be despised for being immigrants? also, not mastering english since the beginning. so we worked on encouraging them to be bilingual, unsuccessful stories for children. this was success. the issue, which is very psychological, hurts the mothers very much. how do i make sure that my son or my daughter are not ashamed of being migrants or mexicans, that they are proud of being
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migrants and mexican? that is what i have been doing during all of my tenure here. mexicans have been the past, are the present, and are the future of the u.s. dir. runde: thank you, ambassador. that is amazing. i have another question from the chat. i'm going to use my words. there is a perception in mexico that president and low -- amlo was close to president trump. is this a challenge for having a good relationship with president biden? amb. barcena: i do not think it is a challenge. i think yes president amlo managed to build a good relationship with president trump president trump respected president amlo very much. he thought that amlo was a strong leader, and he respected strong leaders. i think president amlo
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understood the psychology of president trump well, and they interacted well. my personal opinion, and i have been talking about this with my president a couple of times, is that he and president biden shared many combinations. both reached the presidency after several attempts and a long political career. they are both committed to issues that are dear to them, like inequality, like addressing discrimination, like taking care of the most vulnerable. i think president biden knows mexico more than many other presidents of the u.s. before.
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i am certain that in due time the pandemic allows it -- if president biden goes to mexico and either to the border where we have common challenges, or to see the southeast of mexico, and see how we can push from the development of the southeast of mexico, he will understand much more about mexico and he will engage with president lopez obrador. i am optimistic and i do not think the good relationship with president trump will be an obstacle with a good relationship with president amlo with president biden. on the contrary, it shows that president lopez over door ob
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rador -- lopez obrador can be very engaging, very empathic, and really it is a pleasure to talk with him one to one. dir. runde: another question which has come up, very interesting, is that there has been a trade agreement, a follow on to tpp. the trump administration pulled out of the tpp. so a china-led asia-pacific agreement called rcep was put together instead. what does that mean for mexico? amb. barcena: i think i would not think of the latest agreement as ahead of tpp. that agreement is still there. we are following very closely all the statements the biden administration have been saying
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about tpp, saying they will consider to rejoin if some changes are done to it. don't know what changes. maybe in the future, we will find that. we do not see it necessarily as something that erases the tpp. i think they could be complementary. i think the u.s. government will send us more clear signals in the near future on how are they going to approach their economic relationship with asia in general and with china in particular. meanwhile, mexico continues to be part of the cptpp, and we continue to work very hard with them. with the pacific alliance, you will remember colombia, chile --
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we are progressing on that. we have a huge agenda in the future on the trade agreement, how we manage to not integrate but harmonize nafta with a you -- new u.s. mta -- usmca. how do we deal with cptpp? how is the other agreement going to work? we are also in the process of going through the reciprocation process of the new agreement of mexico with the european union that will also have a huge impact on the automotive sector. dir. runde: look, my last question for you, ambassador, is we have an incoming mexican ambassador to the united states. at some point, the united states will name a new ambassador to mexico. could you just give a little bit
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of advice on both of those new people? i think we know who the new mexican ambassador is, incoming. we do not know who the next u.s. ambassador is to mexico. do you have parting thoughts for those two people? amb. barcena: i am in touch with the incoming ambassador on almost a daily basis. i have known him since we were very young, like 15. we know each other well. he is very professional and talented. i have been providing him with all the information that he requested, and more. my main advice to him would be engage, engage, engage. don't sit only at the desk and lead -- and read. engage with people. engage with congress. engage with the community. that is key to understand and to learn better how to process the
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different challenges that you will have ahead, and particularly there is a new congress. i know that in covid-19 times, you have to engage with all the different departments of the u.s. government. engage the governors. engage the mayors. you have this network of consulates that can help you. so my main advice would be engage, engage, engage. but to engage, you have to be well prepared. to be well prepared. you can't arrive to a meeting just saying platitudes because you have to master the issues in which you have to discuss with each one of your interlocutors. that shows respect and shows you can advance the agenda. master the issues and engage. and to former, future or, i
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mean, not a former but to a future u.s. ambassador to mexico of course also engagement is important. engagement is always important. mastering these issues but i would say be very attentive to mexican sensibility and sensitivity, particularly on what we think our -- are the limits for nonintervention. try not to speak publicly about internal politics in mexico and try to be very careful and try to be constructive and not confrontational and that will help. maybe i am too naive but i think that will help, and to both ambassadors i would say as soon as covid allows you travel through the country. not being a mexico city ambassador and not being a washington ambassador but being the ambassador of mexico to the u.s. and ambassador of the u.s. to
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mexico. dir. runde: ambassador, thank you so much. congratulations on your service and as i said it is not goodbye but see you next week. i look forward to a fluid and ongoing dialogue with you. csis -- is so grateful for your partnership and i want to just thank you for your public service and we are grateful for your friendship and your collegiality that you have shown us. thank you, ambassador. amb. barcena: thank you. i am thankful. i think we have identified three or four issues that we can work on in the future and i just want to take the opportunity of these dialogues and platforms to thank from the bottom of my heart to all the friends of mexico and to all the people that have engaged in the u.s.-mexico relationship and the north american relationship. at the end we ambassadors come and go. it is you that has been working for years in the bilateral relationship and it is
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the mexicans that live here that are the real ambassadors of both countries. and so, thank you and continue that good work. dir. runde: thank you, ambassador. i will be in touch. thanks and stay healthy. in the meantime, congratulations on the birth of your second grandchild. amb. barcena:
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