U.S. Relations With Republic of the Congo
More information about Republic of the Congo is available on the Republic of the Congo page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
U.S.-REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO RELATIONS
The United States established diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Congo in 1960, following the country's independence from France. Diplomatic relations were suspended in 1965, then resumed in 1977. The country, then the People’s Republic of the Congo, had a Marxist government from 1970 to 1991 and enjoyed close relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China, while maintaining strong economic ties with France. President Denis Sassou-N’Guesso has been head of state for all but 5 years since first coming to power in 1979. In 1992, the Republic of the Congo completed a transition to multiparty democracy and Pascal Lissouba was elected president. However, Sassou returned to power through civil war in 1997 and civil conflict continued until the signing of an accord with the last rebel group in 2003. President Sassou, elected under a new constitution in 2002, was re-elected in 2009. Term-limited for the election in 2016, in October 2015 the country passed a new constitution which allowed Sassou to stand for another term. He was re-elected in March 2016.
U.S.-Republic of the Congo relations are positive and cooperative. The two countries have worked together on issues of common interest such as strengthening regional security, improving the lives of Congolese citizens, and safeguarding the environment. The United States has encouraged Congolese democratization efforts and contributed aid to the country's electoral process. The United States has partnered with Congolese civil society and private sector leaders as well as government officials and other international partners to improve human rights, working to build a more stable, secure, democratic, and prosperous Congo.
U.S. Assistance to the Republic of the Congo
U.S. foreign assistance to the Republic of the Congo includes programs such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s McGovern-Dole school feeding program, which works with the Republic of the Congo’s government to provide hot lunches to schoolchildren and develop mechanized agriculture in participating school communities, and USAID’s Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), which serves to protect and sustainably manage the rich biodiversity of the Congo Basin. Additionally, the United States supports health care efforts to combat HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, and collaborates with the Republic of the Congo on health-related research. The United States also builds capacity within the armed forces and promotes civil-military relations, including partnering to improve the country’s capabilities in peacekeeping and maritime security (including port management). The Republic of the Congo also participates in exchange programs such as the Fulbright Scholarship, Humphrey Fellowship, and International Visitors programs.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The Republic of the Congo's economy is based primarily on its petroleum sector, and U.S. companies play a role in the petroleum production and services sectors. The country's top export to the United States is oil, while imports from the United States include machinery, poultry, optical and medical instruments, and vehicles. The Republic of the Congo is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The deep water port in the economic capital of Pointe-Noire is International Ship and Port Facility Security-certified, making it eligible to receive and send shipments directly with the United States. The Republic of the Congo is a member of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). The United States ratified a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the Republic of the Congo in 1994 concerning the reciprocal encouragement and protection of investment.
Republic of the Congo's Membership in International Organizations
The Republic of the Congo and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
The Republic of the Congo maintains an embassy in the United States at 1720 16th St., NW, Washington, DC, 20009 (tel: 202-726-5500, 202-986-5740, 202-986-8751) (website: http://www.ambacongo-us.org/).
More information about Republic of the Congo is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Department of State Republic of the Congo Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Republic of the Congo Page
USAID Republic of the Congo Page
History of U.S. Relations With Republic of the Congo
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Library of Congress Country Studies