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. In recent years, the prior Bolivian government’s decisions to expel the U.S. ambassador, U.S. law enforcement, and development cooperation agencies 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 together to advance human rights as well as entrepreneurship, cultural, and educational initiatives. The United States celebrated the democratic success of the October 2020 elections with the Bolivian people and expressed our best wishes for a robust, mutually respectful relationship with the Arce administration. However, the United States is deeply concerned by growing signs of anti-democratic actions and the politicization of the legal system.
Bolivia is the third largest producer of cocaine in the world, and according to White House Office of National Drug Control Policy coca estimates, is producing 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 supports the Bolivian people as they confront the COVID-19 pandemic with the delivery of more than one million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and approximately $7 million in total support for the Bolivian health sector to build capacity in COVID-19 diagnostics and improve epidemiological surveillance as well as 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 in Fiscal Year 2021 through international organizations to support the influx of Venezuelans into the country and their host communities.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is one of Bolivia’s top trade partners with $827.1 million in bilateral goods trade in 2020. The United States recently increased the quota of sugar imports from Bolivia to its highest level in 20 years. Bolivia and the United States are 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, ores, cereals, and fruits and nuts.
Bolivia is generally open to 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 Bolivia’s prior administration, the government nationalized numerous companies previously 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 continues 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, there is no significant foreign direct investment from the United States in 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. Lack of legal security, corruption allegations, and unclear investment incentives are all impediments to
investment in Bolivia. The U.S. – Bolivia Air Transport Agreement dates to 1947 and is still in force with multiple amendments. Economic growth has been positive throughout the last decade, but Bolivia 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: