Regenerating the Hemispheric Trade Agenda through USMCA Accession

U.S. Senators Cassidy and Bennet discussed with top officials how the United States can expand regional and economic partnerships.


  • Bill Cassidy, U.S. Senator (R-LA)
  • Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator (D-CO)
  • Manuel Tovar, Minister of Foreign Trade, Costa Rica
  • Jennifer Prescott, Director, International Trade & Tax, LatAm Public Policy, AWS
  • Juan Carlos Baker, Principal Chief Executive Officer, Ansley
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (moderator)

“I think that [with] the high levels of uncertainty and volatility that we see all around us, it makes a lot of sense from the North American perspective to seek this alignment of potential allies around the values and the objectives that we, as North American countries, already have,” said Juan Carlos Baker of Ansley when presenting a report on the legalities and possibilities of USMCA accession in a Council of the Americas virtual program.  

In this discussion on expanding USMCA, top government officials and high-level leaders highlighted the need for a new hemispheric trade agenda. “Our economy is much more aligned to that of USMCA countries” said Manuel Tovar, minister of foreign trade of Costa Rica, when making the case for his country's ascension to USMCA. 

The panel discussed how the United States can benefit as well from investment close to home. “Looking at it from a strictly U.S. viewpoint, we get more return on our foreign expenditure if we invested with our neighbors than if we invested overseas” said Senator Bill Cassidy. The senator spoke about the Americas Act, a bill he is co-sponsoring alongside Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) with the goal of promoting a shift in supply chains, strengthening broad-based growth, and deepening economic and financial integration by creating a pathway for countries in the region to accede to USMCA. “Bipartisanship is a critical part of the same puzzle that improves trade and people-to-people efforts and our relationships in this hemisphere,” said Senator Bennet. 

The panel also stressed the importance of the private sector in supporting these efforts. “We hear in so many countries that they're really interested and committed to signing up to these high standard commitments, to having more hemispheric trade," said Jennifer Prescott of Amazon Web Services. Prescott named areas for collaboration, such as cybersecurity and the development of responsible artificial intelligence.

Read a COA brief entitled, "USMCA Expansion: Options and Rationale"