#2024WCA: Reps. Espaillat and Salazar on Expanding Hemispheric Opportunity through Trade

The members of Congress spoke about bipartisan legislation on Latin America, including the Americas Act and the Dignity Act.


  • Adriano Espaillat, Representative, (D-13NY), U.S. House of Representatives 
  • Maria Elvira Salazar, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Representative (R-24FL), U.S. House of Representatives 
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Council of the Americas (moderator)

"We know that every single Latin American country wants to do business with the Americans before they wanna do business with the Chinese or the Russians or the Iranians," explained Representative Maria Elvira Salazar. At the 54th Washington Conference on the Americas, she and Representative Adriano Espaillat spoke with moderator Eric Farnsworth on how to promote hemispheric trade through legislation proposed in the U.S. Congress.

The two speakers started by speaking about the Americas Act, which, as Espaillat explained, "addresses trade in the hemisphere. It updates all the trade initiatives that have occurred in the past." This will not only strengthen trade ties, but also help countries in Latin America modernize and enshrine more rights, the representatives agreed. Espaillat highlighted the "incentives that it creates for countries to be really work within the parameters of what strong democracy should be."

The representatives also discussed the Dignity Act, which is a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill. Salazar encouraged whoever wins the 2024 U.S. presidential election to make the passage of the act among their first accomplishments in office. "Start sending this very strong message from the White House that we care about Latin America," she said. 

Espaillat agreed that the U.S. government needs to focus more on Latin America in the future. "You haven't seen a major robust initiative in the Americas that helps to incentivize a working relation between allies and the United States" since the Kennedy administration.