The Embassy’s Political, Economic, and Commercial Section generates reports such as Belize Background Notes and the Belize Country Commercial Guide for U.S. citizens interested in investing and/or living in Belize.
The section also works to strengthen U.S.-Belize relations through a variety of programs and exchange activities and disseminates relevant information about U.S. Government policies.
- Political and Economic Section Chief:
- Political Officer: Ms. Sydney Skov
- Political and Economic Assistant: Mr. Arturo Cantun
- Economic and Commercial Assistant: Ms. Carmen Silva
- Administrative Management Assistant: Ms. Christine Valerio
- Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer: Ms. Jennifer Shin
The United States and Belize continue to maintain strong relations. The United States is home to the largest Belizean community outside Belize, estimated to number more than 85,000. The state of Belize’s economy, governance, and security are important to U.S. interests in the region. The United States and Belize are working as partners to strengthen border security and prevent transnational crime. The two countries have mutual legal assistance treaties with each other. Both governments seek to control the flow of irregular migrants to the United States through Belize.
U.S. Policy Towards Belize and the Region
The U.S. Strategy to Address the Root Causes of Migration and the U.S. Collaborative Migration Management strategy are the principal frameworks guiding U.S. diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance in Belize and across Central America. These strategies support Belize in addressing the challenges it faces as both a destination and transit country for migrants.
The Root Causes Strategy focuses on a coordinated, place-based approach to improve the underlying causes that push Central Americans, including many from Belize’s neighbor countries, to migrate. This strategy lays out a framework to use the policy, resources, and diplomacy of the United States, and to leverage the expertise and resources of a broad group of public and private stakeholders, to build hope for citizens in the region that the life they desire can be found at home. The strategy is organized under five pillars:
- Pillar I: Addressing economic insecurity and inequality;
- Pillar II: Combating corruption, strengthening democratic governance, and advancing the rule of law;
- Pillar III: Promoting respect for human rights, labor rights, and a free press
- Pillar IV: Countering and preventing violence, extortion, and other crimes perpetrated by criminal gangs, trafficking networks, and other organized criminal organizations; and
- Pillar V: Combating sexual, gender-based, and domestic violence.
The Collaborative Migration Management Strategy (CMMS) works together with the Root Causes Strategy and is the first U.S. whole-of-government effort focused on reducing irregular migration to the U.S. border by promoting safe, orderly, and humane migration, improving access to protection for those fleeing persecution and torture, and strengthening migration cooperation and responsibility sharing throughout North and Central America. The CMMS aims to enhance international protection and in-country protection, promote temporary labor programs within the region, strengthen lawful pathways for those who choose to migrate or are forcibly displaced from their homes in North and Central America, foster humane border management practices, and reduce irregular migration.
The CMMS includes eight distinct lines of action to strengthen collaborative migration management across North and Central America, including Belize:
- Stabilize populations with acute needs;
- Expand access to international protection;
- Expand access to protection in countries of origin;
- Expand third country labor migration programs with worker protections;
- Assist and reintegrate returned persons;
- Foster secure and humane management of borders;
- Strengthen regional public messaging on migration; and
- Expand access to lawful pathways for protection and opportunity in the United States.
U.S. Assistance to Belize
The United States works closely with the Government of Belize to fight narcotics, human and other types of illicit trafficking, and transnational organized crime. The U.S. government seeks to strengthen citizen security and improve the government’s capacity to confront and disrupt criminal organizations. U.S. programs are assisting Belize to professionalize its police force, build its justice sector capacity, and improve its capacity to secure its borders. U.S. grants to Belizean civil society focus on improving governance by strengthening the ties between civil society and the government, improving service delivery, and building capacity within both civil society and government civil service. The Belize Defense Force receives military assistance from the United States, including training, humanitarian and medical assistance programs, and programs to construct and renovate schools. The U.S. military was also instrumental in establishing Belize’s Coast Guard and continues to play a role in building its capacity. The Peace Corps operates public health and education programs in Belize.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is a principal trading partner and source of investment funds for Belize. According to the latest available trade data, in 2020 the United States accounted for 22.22 percent of Belize’s total exports and 40.27 percent of its total imports. Tourism attracts the most foreign direct investment, although U.S. investment also is found in the agriculture and energy 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 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.
Belize maintains an embassy in the United States at 2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-332-9636).
More information about Belize is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Belize Page
History of U.S. Relations With Belize
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies