(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Boozman (R-AR), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to improve America’s competitiveness throughout the African continent and in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act will force better coordination between U.S. government agencies and departments, establish comprehensive strategic goals and marshal private investments to improve U.S. exports to Africa. The legislation also focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean and will help create American jobs by requiring a whole-of-government strategy to increase the number of U.S. exports to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean by at least 200 percent in real dollar value within ten years of enactment of the law.
“Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are important trading partners for the U.S. – not just to advance mutually strategic relationships, but also to ensure we offer a compelling alternative to China’s malign business practices. We need a comprehensive approach to solidify U.S. economic leadership and ensure that a strategy will guide our approach in countering China’s manipulative trade practices for our neighbors abroad,” said Shaheen. “This bill will do just that while creating jobs for American workers and securing America’s presence on the global stage.”
The tools available to the United States to compete in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are scattered, difficult for businesses to access and not effectively coordinated. The Senators’ bipartisan legislation will harmonize the U.S. government’s focus on increasing exports to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean by making the following improvements:
1. Develop a comprehensive strategy to create American jobs by increasing U.S. goods and services exports to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean by at least 200 percent in real dollar value over the next ten years;
2. Create a Special White House Africa Strategy coordinators to ensure government agencies work in tandem and maximize resources to help U.S. companies expand into African, Latin American and Caribbean markets;
3. Encourage greater attention and coordination to African, Latin American and Caribbean commercial markets by appropriate U.S. government agencies; and
4. Standardize training received by U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service officers and Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development economic officers on key programs and procedures agencies such as the United States International Development Finance Corporation, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
Senator Shaheen has long supported trade agreements and programs that increase opportunities and growth for New Hampshire businesses. Shaheen was the first New Hampshire Governor to lead trade missions outside of North America and has prioritized efforts in Congress to help small businesses boost their exports. Senator Shaheen also strongly opposed the Trump Administration’s Section 232 tariffs on allies in Canada and Europe, and was instrumental in securing an exclusion process for businesses to apply for relief from the Section 301 tariffs. Last August, Shaheen joined United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and the Granite State District Export Council for a roundtable discussion to hear from New Hampshire businesses engaged in the export market on how they use trade agreements and programs to help their businesses succeed.