More information about Bolivia is available on the Bolivia Country 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. Beginning in 2008, the prior Bolivian government’s decisions to expel the U.S. ambassador, U.S. law enforcement, and development cooperation agencies has strained the bilateral relationship between the United States and Bolivia. Despite these challenges, the United States maintains a strong and respectful relationship with the Bolivian people, with whom we work to advance human rights, entrepreneurship, and cultural and educational initiatives. The United States celebrated the democratic success of Bolivia’s October 2020 elections and expressed our best wishes for a productive, mutually respectful relationship with the Arce administration. However, the United States remains concerned by growing signs of anti-democratic actions and the increasing politicization of the legal system.
Bolivia remains the third largest producer of cocaine in the world and, according to White House Office of National Drug Control Policy coca estimates, produces well above Bolivia’s own-sanctioned limit of 22,000 hectares (ha). In 2017, Bolivia changed the General Law on Coca (Law 906), which sanctions the domestic demand for the traditional and medicinal use of coca, increasing licit coca production from 12,000 ha to 22,000 ha.
The United States continues to support the Bolivian people as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since July 2021, the United States has shared over five million safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses with the people of Bolivia – free of cost. This includes 4,102,020 Pfizer and 1,008,000 J&J doses. Of the 5,110,020 vaccine doses, 100% were donated in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program. The United States has also provided more than $10 million to the Bolivian health sector to improve the availability of oxygen treatment, accelerate testing for COVID-19, and support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees and host communities.
U.S. Assistance to Bolivia
In addition to the humanitarian assistance for the COVID-19 response activities noted above, in Fiscal Year 2021, the United States provided $440,000 to support Bolivia’s response to natural disasters, including wildfires in the Amazonian region of the country. The United States also provided $495,000 in humanitarian assistance through international organizations in Fiscal Year 2021 to support the influx of Venezuelans fleeing political economic turmoil as well as their host communities.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is one of Bolivia’s top trade partners, with $1.05 billion in bilateral goods trade in 2021. Bolivia and the United States continue working to mutually recognize Bolivia’s national spirit, singani, and Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon as distinctive products, increasing their commercial viability in both countries. U.S. exports to Bolivia include machinery, aircraft, vehicles, and optical and medical instruments. U.S. imports from Bolivia include tin, precious stones, mineral ores, cereals, fruits and nuts.
The Bolivian government generally allows foreign direct investment. An investment promotion law adopted in 2014 guarantees equal treatment for national and foreign firms, but stipulates that public investment has priority over private investment (both national and foreign) and that the Bolivian government will determine which sectors require private investment. Under the Morales administration, the Bolivian government nationalized numerous companies that had been privatized in the 1990s. In June 2012, the Bolivian government terminated the U.S.-Bolivia bilateral investment treaty that entered into force in 2001; however, the treaty continued to apply for 10 years from the date of termination, through June 10, 2022, with respect to investments existing as of the date of termination. At the moment, the United States does not engage in significant foreign direct investment with Bolivia ($556 million in U.S. FDI in Bolivia in 2019), although Bolivia has expressed interest in increasing commercial ties under the 2011 Framework agreement signed by both nations. A lack of legal security, allegations of corruption, and unclear investment incentives all impede investment in Bolivia. The U.S. – Bolivia Air Transport Agreement dates back to 1947 and remains in force with multiple amendments. Throughout the last decade, Bolivia has experienced positive economic growth, but it remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
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.
Principal U.S. 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:
CIA World Factbook Bolivia Page
USAID Bolivia Page
History of U.S. Relations With Bolivia
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Library of Congress Country Studies