July 31, 2023

Senate Passes Cassidy, Durbin, Shaheen, Boozman, Coons, Bipartisan Bill To Increase U.S. Exports To Africa And Latin America In NDAA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Boozman (R-AR), and Chris Coons (D-DE) applauded last night’s Senate passage of their bipartisan legislation to improve America’s competitiveness throughout the African continent and in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Included in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act will force better coordination between U.S. government agencies and departments, establish comprehensive strategic goals, and marshal private investments to improve U.S. exports to Africa. 

“America does better and the world is safer when the U.S. is exporting more high-quality, American-produced goods,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It is great to see this bill included in the NDAA. It will benefit Louisiana rice farmers, soybeans growers, shrimp producers, and more.”

The legislation also focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean and will help create American jobs by requiring a whole of government strategy to increase the number of U.S. exports to Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean by at least 200 percent in real dollar value within ten years of enactment of the law. 

“Despite the strong demand for American products, our global competitors, particularly China, have been busy building markets on the African continent and with our neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean.  We cannot let the U.S. get left behind,” said Senator Durbin. “I’m encouraged by the Senate’s move to pass our bipartisan bill as a provision in the NDAA.  Once enacted, it will help American businesses create jobs at home, and ensure America continues to be seen as a leader in rapidly growing parts of the world.  I’ll be working to ensure it is included in the final conferenced version of the NDAA.”

“Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean are important trading partners for the U.S. – not just to advance mutually strategic relationships, but also to ensure we remain competitive in growing markets against global adversaries like the People’s Republic of China.  We need a comprehensive approach to solidify U.S. economic leadership and ensure an alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s manipulative trade practices for our neighbors abroad,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill will do just that while creating jobs for American workers and securing America’s presence on the global stage.”

“Our national security only benefits from fostering an effective trade strategy with African and Latin American nations, particularly at a time when China is going to great lengths to expand its self-serving influence and undermine U.S. strategic partnerships.  I’m pleased our comprehensive approach to counter this nefarious behavior and increase the flow of American products and ideals are being included as part of our country’s defense policy and I look forward to further progress on this important issue,” said Senator Boozman.

“We need a stronger strategy for increasing U.S. exports to rapidly growing markets that will advance our leadership and create growth opportunities for U.S. businesses.  By facilitating exports of U.S. goods and services to emerging markets, the Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act will bring us closer to these important regions and ensure that United States businesses can better compete with China in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean,” said Senator Coons. “I am glad this bipartisan bill was included in the NDAA package and that we are supporting export-driven jobs and industries in Delaware while strengthening developing economies.”    

The tools available to the United States to compete competitively in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean are scattered, difficult for businesses to access, and not effectively coordinated.  The Senators’ bipartisan legislation will harmonize the U.S. government’s focus on increasing exports to Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean by making the following improvements:

  • Develop a comprehensive strategy to create American jobs by increasing U.S. goods and services exports to Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean by at least 200 percent in real dollar value over the next ten years;
  • Create Special Export Strategy Coordinators for Africa as well as Latin America and the Caribbean at the Department of Commerce to ensure government agencies work in tandem and maximize resources to help U.S. companies expand into African, Latin American, and Caribbean markets;
  • Encourage greater attention and coordination to African, Latin American, and Caribbean commercial markets by appropriate U.S. government agencies; and,
  • Standardize training received by U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service officers and Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development economic officers on key programs and procedures agencies such as the United States International Development Finance Corporation, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.