More information about Bolivia is available on the Bolivia Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Bolivia in 1849 following its independence from Spain. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, with much of the population living in poverty, and it faces serious economic and social challenges. The United States and Bolivia have traditionally had cordial and cooperative relations.
Bolivia is a major producer of coca and cocaine, and its international obligation to control illegal narcotics is a primary issue in the bilateral relationship. For centuries, a limited quantity of Bolivian coca leaf has been chewed and used in traditional rituals, but in the 1970s and 1980s the emergence of the drug trade led to a rapid increase in coca cultivated to make cocaine. In 2006, Bolivia inaugurated as president Evo Morales, a coca union leader who was critical of what he termed "neo-liberal" economic policies. Relations with the United States deteriorated as the Bolivian Government began to dismantle vital elements of the relationship. In 2008, the government expelled the U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from the country. It also expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development from Bolivia’s largest coca-growing region.
The U.S. and Bolivia began a dialogue in 2009 to improve relations, which culminated in the 2011 signing of a bilateral framework agreement to normalize relations. The United States provides assistance to advance common goals in Bolivia through programs to promote health and welfare, advance economic development, and fight narcotics production and trafficking.
U.S. Assistance to Bolivia
U.S. assistance aims to support Bolivian Government counterparts, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to address key social, economic, and law enforcement needs. U.S. assistance provides support for the Bolivian Government's health sector program that seeks to improve health conditions among vulnerable segments of the population, especially women and children under 5 years of age. U.S. assistance will provide limited administrative and logistical support for Bolivian counternarcotics efforts and seek to encourage greater Bolivian cooperation in this area. It will also help agricultural producers improve the volume, quality, and marketability of select crops grown as an alternative to coca.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is one of Bolivia's top trade partners. U.S. exports to Bolivia include machinery, vehicles, aircraft, optical and medical instruments, and agricultural products. U.S. imports from Bolivia include silver and jewelry, crude oil, tin, and Brazil nuts and other agricultural products. Bolivia is generally open to foreign direct investment, but legal uncertainties include regulatory changes called for in the 2009 Bolivian constitution. The government has begun to nationalize companies that were privatized in the 1990s. The U.S.-Bolivia bilateral investment treaty that entered into force in 2001 was terminated by the Bolivian Government as of June 2012, although it will continue to apply for another 10 years to covered investments existing at the time of termination.
Bolivia's Membership in International Organizations
Bolivia and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
There currently is no U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia; the U.S. Charge d'Affaires is Larry L. Memmott. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.
Bolivia maintains an embassy in the United States at 3014 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-483-4410).
More information about Bolivia is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Department of State Bolivia Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Bolivia Page
U.S. Embassy: Bolivia
USAID Bolivia Page
History of U.S. Relations With Bolivia
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information