Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray: Good afternoon, welcome, and welcome to the Mexican embassy in the United States.
Today is, without a doubt, an important day and a good day for the relationship between Mexico and the United States and for the future of the national economy.
I want to make some brief remarks, but first I would like to thank and commend the members of the press, the reporters who have been waiting outside the offices of the trade representative for weeks with great patience, with great tenacity, thank you for your understanding. We greatly appreciate your work; congratulations for your professionalism that we value so much.
Today is, I repeat, a good day, a good day for our bilateral relationship, for the future of the national economy. We have gotten here thanks to the efforts of many people who have worked with commitment, generosity and, on the Mexican side, clearly with great patriotism.
First of all, I want to strongly commend the Economy Ministry's negotiating team and, of course, Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, a professional in politics and trade negotiations. It's a privilege to be on your team, Ildefonso. We are very proud of what is, without a doubt, a very important step in renegotiating the treaty.
I also want to commend the Economy Ministry's entire team: Undersecretary Juan Carlos Baker—who is here; the Chief Negotiator of the Treaty, Kenneth Smith; many congratulations to you and the entire team at the Ministry of Economy.
As you know, Mexico held elections on July first. It was an exemplary democratic process. We now have a President-elect and a transition team, and literally just a few hours after the presidential election took place, very quickly, we began an unprecedented effort of coordination, communication and teamwork on behalf of Mexico with the team of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who agreed with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to work together to present a united front to the world, and especially to our colleagues in the United States.
I want to thank Dr. Jesús Seade for being an extraordinarily constructive observer, who is truly knowledgeable about the issue; Jesús, thank you and all of your team for your participation.
I also want to thank Marcelo Ebrard for the statement he issued today. I have been in very frequent contact with him over the last few days since, I repeat, we are working together on Mexico's behalf as a united front, as we should be.
I also want to thank and commend the work of the Foreign Ministry and, in particular, the work of our ambassador in Washington, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, who for a year and a half has played a key role in our institutional and political relationship with the United States, the U.S. Congress, governors and mayors and, of course, with the private sector.
I would like to especially commend Narciso Campos and the entire team at the Ministry that is doing a very special job.
Today marks the culmination of a very important stage and this could not have happened without true teamwork between the government and the private sector. As Mexico has done on other occasions, it has reaffirmed our best tradition, that of truly acting as a nation, as working as a team for Mexico.
I want to thank the President of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), Juan Pablo Castañón, and all those from the private sector who have been here for many hours, who have been working in Mexico; all the presidents of all the confederations and chambers, thank you for your committed participation, for the many hours you have devoted to this process. It hasn't been easy; there have been intense discussions, but above all there have been a lot of ideas, a lot of proposals and great deal of support for Mexico.
I am also very grateful to Moisés Kalach, general coordinator of the negotiation for the business sector, Moisés, thank you very much, and to everyone who has taken part.
Secretary Guajardo will give a presentation on the aspects of the understanding that has been reached with the United States, I just want to add a reflection: What has been achieved today? What did we achieve today? What we achieved today is an understanding with the United States on the bilateral issues and the entire agenda of the North American Free Trade Agreement. This, of course, is a very important stage that now continues with the reincorporation of the Canadian government into the negotiating process.
I want to be very clear about something President Enrique Peña Nieto said last night to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; they had a very good conversation. It is of vital importance for Mexico, it's a priority, that Canada is in the negotiation, that Canada is part of the agreement, that it continues to be what it has been from the very first day: a trilateral agreement. We are going to put all our efforts into that; that is what we want.
However, there are many variables that we cannot control, including the state of the relationship between Canada and the United States or the decisions that the Canadian government may take.
If, for some reason, the Canadian government and the United States government do not reach an understanding as we have done today, what Mexicans now know today is that, in any of the scenarios, there will be a Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and the United States, regardless of what happens with the negotiations with Canada. Of course, we are going ahead with the negotiations with Canada; that is what we want and believe in. But today there is good news: the uncertainty about whether or not there will be a Free Trade Agreement is over. Now the uncertainty will be if the treaty will be trilateral as we want it to be or if it will be bilateral. In either of the scenarios, we know that we already have a separate trade agreement with Canada, which is the TPP, because we are members of the TPP. In addition, we are in the process of bringing Canada into the Pacific Alliance as an associate member. So, we have reached this bilateral understanding; it's an understanding that covers many topics, and some are highly technical. We can't hope to cover the entire agenda at this press conference, but Secretary Guajardo will make a presentation to explain the most important elements.
Once again, my most sincere gratitude and appreciation for everyone and congratulations, Secretary Guajardo.