July 18, 2023

What They Are Saying: Americas Act Gains Momentum

WASHINGTON – Since U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and U.S. Representative Maria Salazar (R-FL-27) released a discussion draft of their Americas Act in January, the proposal has gained significant momentum, including the announcement that U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) has joined the effort as the Senate co-lead.

“We are looking to reprioritize partnerships in the Western Hemisphere and level the playing field between freedom-loving democracies and those who exploit the rules,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Members of both parties, Latin American presidents, and ambassadors are registering their support for our effort. We have momentum.”

“The Americas Act is an opportunity to renew our partnerships on trade, supply chains, energy, and immigration across the Western Hemisphere, and to live up to our values in our shared struggle for democracy. I’m grateful for the growing support from civic leaders in our country and across the region who understand that the United States cannot allow any more time to pass without offering compelling investment opportunities across Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Senator Bennet.

“The Americas Act is the 21st Century solution to ensuring the Western Hemisphere remains free of totalitarian control and on the road to prosperity,” said Representative Salazar. “Freedom-loving countries throughout Latin America are hungry for economic liberty and engagement with the United States. It’s time to invest in our allies and keep the Chinese Communist Party out of our hemisphere.”

One of the most encouraging signs came when eight Latin American ambassadors attended a Senate Finance subcommittee hearing on the Western Hemisphere as a show of support for Cassidy’s Americas Act. Ambassadors in attendance included Andres Duran of Uruguay, Catalina Crespo of Costa Rica, Alfonso Quinones of Guatemala, Gustavo Mesa Cuadra of Peru, Ivonne Baki of Ecuador, Ramon Martinez of Panama, Sonia Guzman of the Dominican Republic, and Luis Murillo of Columbia.

Here’s what else people are saying:

  • Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves: “I thank [Senator Cassidy] for his support as Costa Rica pursues strengthening and deepening our ties with our trade partners USA, Mexico and Canada — OECD members working together to improve the lives of our people.”
  • Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle: “On the meeting with the President of the United States… [we] talked with the President of the United States about his initiative launched in Los Angeles last year, known as APEP. At the same time exists a bill called ‘Americas Act’ which, at the same time if we succeed diplomatically that both legal texts can coincide in some aspects, I don’t want to use the world FTA, because that would be an exaggeration, but it would meet some of the FTA desires without being called that.”
  • Costa Rican Trade Minister: “We welcome the Americas Act as a great step towards deepening the trade relationship between the United States and Costa Rica. Costa Rica would be a great addition to the USMCA.”
  • Eric Farnsworth Council of the Americas Vice President: “The Americas Act co-sponsored on a bipartisan basis by Senators Cassidy and Bennet is a major step in this direction. It’s strategic, timely, and creative, a thoughtful framework for sustained regional engagement designed to recapture the regional narrative from those who may increasingly question Washington’s reliability.”
  • Andres Oppenheimer in the Miami Herald: “[I]t’s good to hear that there are discussions in Congress about expanding U.S.-Latin American trade and investment ties. If nothing else, the fear of further U.S. supply chain disruptions from China and of China’s growing presence in Latin America may prompt Washington to end years of ‘forgetfulness’ of the region.”
  • Mark Kennedy & Anders Beal in The Hill: “Putting trade at the center of any U.S. foreign policy agenda is an important step to get there. One option to do so is being advanced by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.). The Americas Trade and Investment Act would not only address China’s economic statecraft, but also bring the Western Hemisphere into the fold as a strategic region worthy of investing serious diplomatic and political capital.”
  • El País: “Bill Cassidy, a Republican senator from Louisiana, and his Democratic colleague from Colorado, Michael Bennet, presented a bill called America’s Act, which consists of a plan to expand trade on a continental scale… It concerns the extension of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an updated version of NAFTA, to other Latin American countries. Academics are increasingly recommending this strategy, which is intended to circumvent the resistance in Congress to approving new free trade agreements.”
  • Inside U.S. Trade: “Senate Finance Committee member Michael Bennet (D-CO) on Wednesday signed onto Sen. Bill Cassidy’s (R-LA) developing ‘Americas Act,’ which they say would create a deep and lasting trade partnership between the U.S. and others in the Western Hemisphere and help counter Chinese influence in the region… With Bennet on board, the Americas Act is now a bipartisan effort that covers three of the four corners of Congress, a Republican Senate aide told Inside U.S. Trade.”
  • Politico Weekly Trade: “Finance Committee member Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced a discussion draft along with Rep. Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) that would incentivize companies to move supply chains from China to the U.S. and Latin America, while establishing a path for Central and South American nations to join the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It remains to be seen if the ‘Americas Act’ will have legs in the new Congress, but its introduction shows how the GOP is trying to refashion its trade policies for the new economic era.”
  • Coalition for a Prosperous America: “But unlike every other U.S. trade agreement in the last century, the Americas Act actually undertakes the necessary tariff reform to accomplish its aim. If implemented, it would succeed in driving industrialization and growth in the U.S. and throughout our hemisphere.”
  • Orbia: “Establishing a bipartisan and comprehensive foreign and economic policy for the Americas – including a pathway for some countries in the region to join the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement- provides an opportunity for the United States to live up to our values in our shared struggle for democracy and economic wellbeing and prosperity in the Americas.”
  • Federal Maritime Commission: “The initiative [Representative Salazar] and Senators Cassidy and Bennet are proposing to create [an] ever expanding trade partnership within the Western Hemisphere through incentives, education, communication, and expanding the United States- Mexico-Canada Agreement, as well as other existing trade initiatives, is thoughtful, forward looking, and commendable.”
  • Time Magazine: “[T]he Americas Act, a bill proposed by Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, is an audacious package of measures to counteract the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in the region.”
  • Business Council of Canada: “It is critical that Canada remain engaged with key U.S. stakeholders who are driving the American approach to economic integration in our hemisphere. This engagement must include outreach to those not in the Administration. As an example, Canadian business leaders are closely following developments around the Americas Trade and Investment Act as proposed by Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Representative Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL).”
  • Coatings World: “Meanwhile, in Congress, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) proposed The Americas Trade and Investment Act in June, to ‘prioritize partnerships in the Western Hemisphere to improve trade, bring manufacturing back to our shores, and compete with China.’”
  • Nicholas Virzi, Francisco Marroquín University International Relations Professor: “The Cassidy and Green initiatives seek a return to these basic practices of geopolitical strategy, even if they defy free markets and economic efficiency. While using the jargon and terminology of free trade, both initiatives are motivated by the dual political aims of (1) reducing US economic dependence on China and (2) blunting China’s growing presence in the Americas.”


In May, Cassidy spoke at the Council of the Americas Washington Conference to discuss the Americas Act. He highlighted the need for the U.S. to reimagine its neglected Latin America policy and urged the Biden administration to take a more comprehensive approach to the hemisphere.