U.S. Relations With El Salvador

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Fact Sheet
February 16, 2018


More information about El Salvador is available on the El Salvador Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-EL SALVADOR RELATIONS

The United States established diplomatic relations with El Salvador in 1863 following its independence from Spain and the later dissolution of a federation of Central American states. Post-independence, the country saw a mix of revolutions, democracy, and a 1980-1992 civil war. After the signing of peace accords in 1992, the Salvadorans have consolidated their democracy through an uninterrupted chain of elected governments. The United States and El Salvador share a strong commitment to democracy, rule of law, and inclusive economic development. Ties are further enriched by more than 2 million Salvadorans who call the United States home.

El Salvador is a key partner in efforts to reduce irregular migration and the threats posed by transnational criminal organizations and gangs. The country has been a strong, durable partner on security and defense issues. However, endemic crime, corruption, and impunity threaten El Salvador's progress by undermining the legitimacy of state institutions and impeding economic growth.

U.S. Assistance to El Salvador

The U.S. Strategy for Central America (Strategy) guides U.S. diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance in the region. The Strategy is a bipartisan, multi-year U.S. government plan covering all seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama). The Strategy aims to secure U.S. borders and protect American citizens by addressing the security, governance, and economic drivers of illegal immigration and transnational crime, while increasing opportunities for U.S. and other businesses. The Strategy focuses on three overarching lines of action: 1) promoting prosperity, 2) enhancing security, and 3) improving governance.

The Strategy supports and complements the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity (A4P), a joint initiative adopted by the Northern Triangle Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. In 2016-2017, the Northern Triangle governments committed $5.4 billion of their own funds to support A4P initiatives to develop opportunities for their people, improve public safety, enhance access to the legal system, and strengthen institutions.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States and El Salvador are parties to the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which aims to facilitate trade and investment and enhance regional integration by eliminating tariffs, opening markets, reducing barriers to services, and promoting transparency. CAFTA-DR contains a chapter on investment with commitments similar to those found in investment treaties the United States typically negotiates on a bilateral basis. More than 300 U.S. companies have established either a permanent commercial presence in El Salvador or work through representative offices in the country. U.S. exports to El Salvador include fuel products, aircraft, machinery, and knit crocheted fabrics. U.S. imports from El Salvador include apparel and agricultural products (spices, coffee, tea, and sugars). Remittances from Salvadorans working in the United States are an important source of income for many families in El Salvador and make up 18% of El Salvador’s GDP. The United States has a trade surplus with El Salvador, with exports to El Salvador in 2017 exceeding imports by $579.79 million.

El Salvador's Membership in International Organizations

El Salvador 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, Inter-American Development Bank, World Trade Organization, and Community of Democracies.

Bilateral Representation

Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

El Salvador maintains an embassy in the United States at 1400 16th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20036 (tel: 202-595-7500).

More information about El Salvador is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State El Salvador Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook El Salvador Page
U.S. Embassy
USAID El Salvador Page
History of U.S. Relations With El Salvador
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
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation: El Salvador
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel Information