U.S. Embassy La Paz, Bolivia

The United States established diplomatic relations with Bolivia in 1849 following its independence from Spain. Beginning in 2008, the 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 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 current administration. However, the United States remains concerned about anti-democratic actions and the politicization of the legal system.

Bolivia remains the third largest producer of cocaine in the world and produces well above Bolivia’s own-sanctioned limit of 22,000 hectares (ha), according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime coca estimates. In 2017, Bolivia changed the General Law on Coca (Law 906), which regulates the domestic market for the traditional and medicinal use of coca, increasing licit coca production from 12,000 ha to 22,000 ha.

The United States is an important trade partner for Bolivia, with about $1 billion in bilateral goods trade in 2022. The United States and Bolivia do not have a free trade agreement. U.S. exports to Bolivia include mineral oils/fuels, plastic materials, food preparations, halogenated olefins, heavy machinery, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals. The United States is Bolivia’s fifth largest import market and eleventh export market. U.S. imports from Bolivia include raw tin, mineral ores, cereals, nuts, and tungsten.

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). Under the law, the Bolivian government will determine which sectors require private investment. Bolivia abrogated its Bilateral Investment Treaties with the United States and multiple other countries in 2012. From 2008 to 2016, the Bolivian government nationalized numerous companies that had been privatized in the 1990s. U.S. foreign direct investment in Bolivia is about $430 million, mainly in the oil and gas and manufacturing sectors. Weak judicial recourse, corruption, and unclear investment incentives make investment in Bolivia challenging. The U.S.-Bolivia Air Transport Agreement from 1947 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.

The U.S. embassy is in La Paz.

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United States Department of State, Office of the Historian and Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

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U.S. Embassy in Bolivia