When addressing to the audience at the 18th annual conference of The Chinese Finance Association, Gutierrez, now vice-chairman of Institutional Clients Group of Citigroup, said the economic partnership between China and the United States in many ways defines the global economy.
While working in finance today, Gutierrez said his perspective about China may be a little bit different because of his former role in the US government.
"I'm not the first one to call that China-US relationship is the most important relations of the world but I'm happy to repeat it because it's so obviously true," Gutierrez said. "Other economies either ride the wave of our success or they suffer when we stall."
Gutierrez said a lot of Americans don't know how to think about China. Politicians describe China using a variety of terms from "strategic partner" to "strategic competitor".
Gutierrez admitted that as the two biggest economies in the world, China and the United States do compete in a lot of areas. However, he said that like so many competitor dynamics, the competitiveness can be a force for good, spurring two nations to achieve greater achievements, if the energies are properly channeled.
Talking about the recent dispute between the two countries concerning the solar industries, Gutierrez said the only way to find a solution is dialogue. He believed the world's largest economic leaders are too interdependent to risk a trade war.
"To put it simply, our two countries need each other," Gutierrez said. "Cooperation is paramount. We each have an interest in economically helping each other, and more than that of the entire world."