June 10, 2024

ICYMI: Americas Act Represents Transformational Opportunity for Western Hemisphere, Counters China

WASHINGTON – Following the introduction of the landmark Americas Act by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Representatives Maria Salazar (R-FL-27) and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), news outlets have been quick to highlight transformational nature of the legislation for the Western Hemisphere. The Americas Act aims to create an ever-expanding and permanent trade partnership of Western Hemisphere countries and counter China’s growing control over global manufacturing and geopolitics. The Americas Act is endorsed and cosponsored by former House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08). 

Financial Times Editorial Board: “The Americas Act would put muscle into the Biden administration’s hitherto flabby economic partnership initiatives. It could allow Latin American nations that meet standards on democracy, trade and the rule of law to eventually join the US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. It would expand US concessional lending and offer up to $70 billion to promote the nearshoring of production from China. A biennial presidential summit would track progress. Latin American nations like the idea. The White House is said to be supportive. Yet the bill will struggle to win attention from legislators in an election year. Congressional leaders should get it passed. If the U.S. misses the opportunity in Latin America, China certainly will not.” 

Miami Herald: “The U.S. government can take a big step to make U.S. supply chains more secure and efficient, increase U.S. trade with Latin America, boost international business communities from Miami to Los Angeles, and help stem the flow of Latin American migrants to the U.S. border if the United States supports initiatives to promote ‘near-shoring’ in Latin America. One of the most worthy proposals that would help achieve that is the ‘Americas Act,’ a bipartisan bill recently introduced in Congress by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO.) It was presented last month as a way to counter China’s influence in the region, and would invite friendly Latin American democracies to join the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. That would make more Latin American countries increasingly attractive for multinationals seeking to relocate their China-based factories… At a time when Latin America lags as the slowest-growing region of the emerging world, near-shoring could be a lifeline for the area and a major migration-fighting tool for Washington. Congress should get this one right!”

Financial Times: “Concern over China’s economic clout has created ‘a hell of a chance’ for the U.S. to pass legislation paving the way for more free trade deals with Latin American countries, said President Joe Biden’s special adviser for the region. Former senator Chris Dodd said he was increasingly optimistic about the Americas Act getting through Congress this year — which would harmonise and expand existing US trade deals with Latin American nations and offer incentives to ‘nearshore’ production from China.”

El Paso Times: “With the USCMA as its compass, the Americas Act could open doors for job creation, infrastructure development, and technology partnerships that will uplift economies of the Western Hemisphere while strengthening our national security. If the U.S. fails to embrace free and fair trade in the Americas, rest assured that China will take advantage of the leadership vacuum our country leaves behind.”

Washington Times: “Even though we have a bipartisan consensus acknowledging we are being challenged by the Chinese Communist Party and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s oppressive regime, we have not figured out bipartisan responses to these challenges yet. A new piece of legislation moves us forward in a big way in the Western Hemisphere, one part of the world where we need to pay more attention. The introduction of the Americas Trade and Investment Act, aka the Americas Act, represents a bipartisan response to counter these threats effectively, involving key figures from the Senate and the House of Representatives across the political spectrum.”

Latin American Post: “In a bipartisan effort, U.S. lawmakers have unveiled the Americas Trade and Investment Act, which aims to expand trade and investment with Latin America and the Caribbean to counter China’s growing influence. This landmark legislation could redefine economic relations in the Western Hemisphere. In a significant move that signals a potential shift in the Americas’ geopolitical landscape, U.S. congress members from both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation poised to deepen trade and investment ties with Latin America and the Caribbean. This move, aimed at countering China’s expanding footprint in the region, heralds a new era of economic diplomacy that could profoundly change the Western Hemisphere’s financial and strategic dynamics… The Americas Trade and Investment Act represents a pivotal moment in U.S.-Latin American relations, offering a blueprint for a more integrated, prosperous, and secure Western Hemisphere. By countering external influences through economic empowerment and strategic alliances, the U.S. and Latin America can forge a partnership that benefits all parties involved and sets a new standard for international cooperation in the modern era.”

South Florida PBS: “[T]he Americas Act would resuscitate the idea of U.S.-led, hemisphere-wide trade partnership by bringing more Latin American and Caribbean countries into the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement (USMCA). It would also make us serious about ‘nearshoring’ industrial production back into this hemisphere in critical sectors like electronics, renewable energy and business services. In short, it champions more than ‘just screaming, “Don’t do business with China!”’ as Latin American political economy expert Richard Feinberg once described the U.S. approach. But the Americas Act could have other ripple effects. By setting bars for democratic, rule-of-law governance to get a seat at the USMCA table, for example, it could help pull Latin American countries on both the left and right away from the siren song of populist authoritarianism seducing so much of the region today.”

BNN Breaking: “The introduction of the Americas Act signifies a momentous step towards redefining the United States’ engagement with Latin America. By offering a framework for closer economic integration and diplomatic cooperation, the bill aims to create a more stable and prosperous hemisphere. Moreover, it acknowledges the essential role of Latin American countries in supporting the U.S. industrial base, particularly in sectors critical for modern infrastructure and technological advancement. This legislative initiative reflects a strategic vision that transcends traditional diplomacy, recognizing the interconnectedness of the American economies and the mutual benefits of a strengthened partnership. As the Americas Act makes its way through the legislative process, its potential to reshape the dynamics of U.S.-Latin American relations and bolster vital industries within the United States offers a promising prospect for the future of inter-American cooperation and economic resilience.” 

Newsweek: “The bill seeks to marshal the collective resources, institutions, and international agreements of the U.S. government to incentivize investment in the hemisphere and to show our regional partners that strong ties with the United States can bring concrete support in addition to words of encouragement. The bill proposes a much-anticipated, welcome set of policy tools—from e-governance to commerce—to advance prosperity in the hemisphere while simultaneously beginning to check China’s economic ambitions. Notably, it’s endorsed by House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI). Among the bill’s many provisions, it puts forward concrete steps to advance U.S. trade and investment in the hemisphere, including through the harmonization and cumulation of existing commercial agreements, provides for greater financing through the Development Finance Corporation, and importantly, is framed around how to nearshore industries from China.”

Business of Fashion: “The Americas Trade and Investment Act, or Americas Act, seeks to encourage the reshoring and near-shoring of manufacturing supply chains with a heavy footprint in China. It also aims to close a tax loophole that allows e-commerce giants like Shein and Temu to ship millions of packages to the U.S. each year without paying any duty.” 

Sourcing Journal: “First teased in draft form last January, the sweeping legislation looks to facilitate the onshoring and reshoring of critical industries while supporting free-trade agreement expansion. It also contains provisions related to enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and de minimis reform.”

Just Style: “The Americas Act has been introduced by US Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), alongside US Representatives Maria Salazar (R-FL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and coined ‘the only major strategic economic plan to counter China’s geopolitical and economic power in the Hemisphere…’”

Waste Dive: “The bill aims to reduce the U.S.’s reliance on manufacturing from China by strengthening trade partnerships between countries in Latin America and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere… Among numerous provisions meant to incentivize reshoring activities in the U.S., the bill includes several aspects related to textile recycling and reuse. Bill sponsors say it’s important to reduce reliance on overseas textile manufacturing practices, namely in China, due to labor abuse and environmental concerns.”

Latin America Foreign Direct Investment: “The U.S. has made somewhat of a retreat from the region in recent years, which has coincided with aggressive inroads made by China. China is now in a dominant position in several key sectors in Latin America, be it telecoms infrastructure, critical mineral supply, and ports where trade is important. And so, this is a long-awaited effort, I would say, to influence countries that have gotten used to what’s been a bit more like a stick-focused approach from the U.S. The countries in the region have been increasingly wooed by Chinese investment. Now, the Americas Trade and Investment Act is a chance to flip the script…”

E&E News“The bipartisan ‘Americas Act,’ introduced earlier this year, would allocate more than $14 billion into textile recycling and reuse development. The bill, introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), would authorize $10 billion in preferential loans and $3 billion in grants, $1 billion in research and $100 million for a public education program… The bill’s backers are hoping funding would help kick-start a new industry for textile recycling methods in the U.S., something those in the fashion industry say is necessary for getting ahead of the problem as well as international competitors.”

Global Americans: “The Americas Act aims to rally countries across the Western Hemisphere, creating regional trade, investment, and people-to-people partnerships to stimulate growth and integration through viable long-term private sector development… [T]he bill establishes a set of guiding principles on democratic governance, trade, and rule of law. Benefits for participating countries include better access to the U.S. market, loans and grants to near-shoring industries from China, targeted programs to increase the competitiveness of strategic regional supply chains, among others.”

American Drycleaner: “‘With the bold textile reuse and recycling incentive provisions in the Americas Act, organizations in our industry will be able to re-invest in jobs in the U.S. and compete globally, while incubating innovation and R&D and fostering an environment to cultivate public-private capital,’ says Rachel Kibbe, CEO of Circular Services Group and Executive Director of American Circular Textiles Group (ACT). ‘Essentially, we have the opportunity for the U.S. to reposition itself as a global leader through localized circular textile manufacturing.’” 

The National Interest: “The Americas Act signals a critical bipartisan step toward improving hemispheric affairs and reinvigorating the Americas’ importance within U.S. foreign policy. Its incorporation of a wide array of issues, clear focus on mutual benefits, and bipartisan support could help usher in a new golden age of regional affairs.”


More than 60 million Americans are of Hispanic descent, helping to make the U.S. the fourth-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Together, the hemisphere grows enough food and produces enough critical minerals to sustain every country in the Americas.

Last year, Cassidy and Salazar released a discussion draft of the Americas Act which received significant support from Latin American leaders and other stakeholders. Learn more about what people are saying.

Cassidy and Bennet spoke to the Council of the Americas about the Americas Act. They highlighted the need for the U.S. to reimagine its neglected Latin America policy and take a more comprehensive approach to the hemisphere. They focused on the plan’s mechanism to expand the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the gold standard for trade agreements, and the new investment corporation that would promote economic development across the hemisphere. The returns generated by the investment corporation would fully pay for the plan.