driving economic prosperity

April 12, 2024

Driving Economic Prosperity: Unveiling the Americas Trade and Investment Act

On March 6th, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) unveiled the Americas Trade and Investment Act, also known as the "Americas Act."

This bipartisan legislation, backed by Representatives Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27),with support from House Select China Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8), seeks to bolster investment in the Western Hemisphere.

Its overarching aim is to enhance trade, stimulate job creation, and reduce dependence on China by offering various tools such as loans, grants, and tax incentives to facilitate business re-shoring and near-shoring.

The Americas Act aligns with the core principles of the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) program, established in 1934 to expedite economic activity, boost exports, and foster job growth. U.S. FTZs, numbering over 1,200 active operations nationwide and employing more than 500,000 workers, have been instrumental in driving economic prosperity.

Over the past decade, the program has experienced significant growth, with a remarkable 35% increase in employment and a staggering 132%surge in exports.

us act
Comprising five key pillars – The Americas Partnership, E-Governance, Trade, Investment, and People-to-People – the Americas Act offers a comprehensive framework to strengthen economic, political, and cultural ties within the Western Hemisphere.

One notable provision in the Senate version of the Act addresses the issue of de minimis entry for products distributed from FTZs. This provision, if enacted, would ensure parity with offshore distribution operations and alleviate compliance concerns, thereby safeguarding American jobs.

In Louisiana, where the FTZ program supports 35 companies and over 20,000 jobs, and in Colorado, where it sustains 5 companies and approximately 250 jobs, achieving de minimis parity for U.S. FTZs is deemed critical.

This parity is essential for preventing the outsourcing of e-commerce fulfillment operations to non-U.S. locations, thereby preserving domestic employment opportunities and fostering economic resilience.