U.S. Relations With Bahrain
More information about Bahrain is available on the Bahrain 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 Bahrain in 1971 following its independence from the United Kingdom. The U.S. embassy at Manama was opened September 21, 1971, and a resident ambassador was sent in 1974. The Bahraini Embassy in Washington, DC, opened in 1977. The American Mission Hospital has operated continuously in Bahrain for more than a century.
Bahrain plays a key role in regional security architecture and is a vital U.S. partner in defense initiatives. Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet and participates in U.S.-led military coalitions, including the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Bahraini forces have supported the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, providing perimeter security at a military base. Bahrain was the first Arab state to lead a Coalition Task Force patrolling the Gulf and has supported the coalition counter-piracy mission with a deployment of its flagship. The U.S. designated Bahrain a Major Non-NATO Ally in 2002.
The U.S-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2006, generating additional commercial opportunities for both countries. In 2017, bilateral merchandise trade reached $1.9 billion.
Bahrain continues to experience occasional political and social unrest. The United States has urged the Government of Bahrain to widen the scope for political and civil society actors and ensure the parliamentary and municipal elections, anticipated for November 2018, are broadly inclusive.
U.S. Assistance to Bahrain
The Government of Bahrain plays a key role in the Gulf’s security architecture and is an important member of the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition. U.S. assistance enables Bahrain to continue to obtain the equipment and training it needs to provide for its own defense and to operate alongside U.S. air and naval forces. U.S. assistance also strengthens Bahrain’s interoperability for regional security and counterterrorism cooperation; boosts Bahrain’s maritime defenses against smuggling and terrorism; and improves Bahrain’s ability to deny terrorist sponsorship, support, and sanctuary in a manner that respects the human rights of its residents.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Due to its relatively limited energy reserves, Bahrain has been diversifying its economy away from oil and gas production and is seeking to attract foreign investment and businesses. The U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement took effect on August 1, 2006, and has generated increased U.S. commercial interest in Bahrain. Bilateral trade between the U.S. and Bahrain has increased each year since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement, reached $1.9 billion USD in 2017. U.S. exports to Bahrain include machinery, aircraft, vehicles, and agricultural products. U.S. imports from Bahrain include fertilizers, aluminum, textiles, apparel, and organic chemicals.
Bahrain's Membership in International Organizations
Among other regional and global organizations, Bahrain is a member of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
Bahrain maintains an embassy in the United States at 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel: (202) 342-1111.
More information about Bahrain is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Department of State Bahrain Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Bahrain Page
History of U.S. Relations With Bahrain
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies