Two members of Congress want to invite Latin American countries to join Canada's trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. 

Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy and Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, say they want to create a Western Hemisphere trading bloc to combat China. 

They say expanding the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to include Latin American countries would be a win-win for the Americas. 

Their proposed Americas Trade and Investment Act is designed to leverage the power of the U.S. as a trading partner to foster economic growth and stability throughout the hemisphere. 

But the idea comes at a fraught political moment in the U.S., with former president Donald Trump — the original catalyst for renegotiating NAFTA — leading the race for the Republican nomination in 2024. 

Juan Carlos Baker, who helped lead Mexico's team in those talks, says the USMCA review process in 2026 is a "perfect window" to explore expanding the agreement. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2023.