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Saturday, July 7, 2012
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. Relations With Belize
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
June 20, 2012
The United States and Belize traditionally have had close and cordial relations. The United States is home to the largest Belizean community outside Belize, estimated to be over 100,000. Belize's economic growth and accompanying democratic political stability are important U.S. objectives. The United States and Belize are working as partners to address the issues of citizen security and transnational crime. The two countries have mutual legal assistance treaties with each other covering stolen vehicles and extraditions. Both governments seek to control the flow of illegal migrants to the United States through Belize.
U.S. Assistance to Belize
The United States works closely with the Government of Belize to fight illicit narcotics trafficking, and Belize benefits from the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). Through CARSI, the U.S. Government seeks to strengthen citizen safety and improve the government’s capacity to confront and disrupt criminal organizations. The Belize Defense Force receives military assistance from the United States. The U.S. military's assistance program in Belize has included the construction and renovation of several schools and youth hostels, medical assistance programs, and drug reduction programs. U.S. military assistance was also critical in establishing Belize’s coast guard. Belize benefits from U.S. Agency for International Development regional programs, and there is a Peace Corps program in the country. Belize has signed a 5-year Central American regional framework agreement with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is Belize's principal trading partner and major source of investment funds. In 2010, the United States provided 47.9% of Belizean merchandise imports and accounted for 49.1% of Belize's merchandise exports. Some 185 U.S. companies have operations in Belize. Tourism attracts the most foreign direct investment, although U.S. investment also is found in the telecommunications, petroleum, and agricultural sectors. A Country Commercial Guide for Belize is available from the U.S. Embassy's Economic/Commercial section.
Belize's Membership in International Organizations
Belize became a member of the United Nations following its 1981 independence from the United Kingdom. Belize and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the UN, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.