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COA's Trade Advisory Group comprises member representatives from the Council and invited experts who each educate and advocate for open markets and trade facilitation in the Western Hemisphere.


Valparaíso, Chile. (AdobeStock)

Trade Advisory Group


The Trade Advisory Group (TAG), made up of Council of the Americas member representatives and invited experts, advocates for open markets, trade facilitation, and rules-based trading systems in the Western Hemisphere. TAG members share a common commitment to the principle that international trade is a critical element in achieving sustainable economic growth in the United States and the nations of the Americas. TAG is a leading platform for policy-level idea generation and guidance related to hemispheric trade and investment, consistent with the longstanding values of Council of the Americas. TAG is co-chaired by Chris Padilla of IBM and Felipe Jaramillo of the World Bank.

The regional trade agenda in the Western Hemisphere underwent a retrenchment amid the coronavirus pandemic, which raised the specter of protectionism and how best to manage global supply chains. At the same time, digital economy, sustainability, labor, and inclusion have taken center stage. Following the June 2022 IX Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, the Council has encouraged the Administration and hemispheric partners to move forward with the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity announced by President Biden. Read the letter to President Joe Biden on the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity.

We continue to prioritize the importance of a robust North American trade and investment relationship, Western Hemisphere engagement in the Asia-Pacific region including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) process and leaders Summit, hosted by the United States, the Pacific Alliance, and enhanced intra-regional trade, with a focus on both pandemic recovery and ensuring that the region is a competitive player in global digital trade.

In the last year, the Washington Office has hosted a wide range of trade- and investment-related events under the auspices of TAG to keep members apprised of developments as the region felt the effects of the pandemic. 

Opportunities are available for COA corporate members to sponsor the Trade Advisory Group.

2024 Trade Advisory Group Sponsors:

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USMCA Implementation

A revamped North American trade agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), took effect July 1, 2020. An update of the 1994 NAFTA agreement, USMCA adds important digital economy, labor, and environment provisions. Since then, the U.S. government has focused on vigorously enforcing the provisions of this updated pact. At the North American Leaders' Summit in January 2023, U.S. President Joe Biden, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted the value of USMCA in advancing North American integration, with a focus on supply chains and critical minerals.

COA’s Trade Advisory Group actively advocated for passage of USMCA, and has kept members informed of implementation through a series of activities, including:

  • Briefings by senior Mexican officials, including the secretary of economy, under secretary for North America, under secretary for foreign trade, and Mexican state governors. 
  • Separate events with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar. Ambassador of Mexico to the United States Esteban Moctezuma, and Canadian Ambassador to the United States Kristen Hillman. 
  • A panel of U.S., Mexican and Canadian experts to review of achievements at the January 2023 North American Leaders' Summit.
U.S. Trade with Western Hemisphere Partners

At the June 2022 IX Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, President Biden announced formation of the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, based on five pillars that include making supply chains more resilient and ensuring sustainable and inclusive trade. The Council hosted meetings with key U.S. officials on the initiative and expressed its early support in a letter to President Biden that included suggestions for initiatives that would energize regional trade and ensure public-private cooperation on APEP goals.

Like the Trump Administration, which signed agreements with Brazil and Ecuador, the Biden Administration has indicated a preference for executive agreements on trade-related issues such as labor, the environment, trade facilitation, and digital trade.

COA’s Trade Advisory Group has continued to support regional integration, with a focus on digital trade and other 21st-century trade issues. Council activities on broader Western Hemisphere trade in the past year included:

  • Keynote addresses by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jayme White, and U.S. Senators Bill Hagerty and Ben Sasse at the Washington Conference on the Americas in 2022.
  • Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Western Hemisphere Subcommittee on the Ninth Summit of the Americas, including trade and investment issues.
  • In-depth briefings on the U.S. commercial and trade relationships with U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Marisa Lago and and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Daniel Watson.
  • Meetings with senior trade officials from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Panama, Mexico, and Uruguay, among others.
World Trade and the Americas

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s attack on Ukraine in 2022, and instability in markets and the broader economy, COA has maintained an active agenda to keep members informed of how shifting global geo-politics are affecting trade priorities in the Western Hemisphere. Recent activities include:

  • Programs with representatives from the U.S., Brazilian, and Japanese governments to discuss Japan’s growing trade and investment with the region and how the need for resilient post-COVID supply chains may affect the region.
  • Meetings on trade and development in the region with representatives of key multilateral financial institutions, including the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).
  • Discussions on China’s rising influence in Latin America with academic experts, senior business executives, and U.S. government officials.
  • A look at the implications of Brexit for UK-Americas relations with British Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean and a panel of experts.
  • An expert discussion on how global trends in trade, environment, and climate change will affect companies and governments in the Americas.