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U.S.- Guatemala Relations
July 7, 2018

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

Fact Sheet
December 8, 2016

More information about Guatemala is available on the Guatemala Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S. – Guatemala Relations

The United States established diplomatic relations with Guatemala in 1849 following its independence from Spain and the later dissolution of a federation of Central American states.

Beginning in 1960, forces carried out armed insurrection against the Guatemalan government. Peace accords ending the 36-year internal conflict were signed in 1996.

U.S. policy objectives in Guatemala include:

  • Supporting the institutionalization of democracy;
  • Encouraging respect for human rights and the rule of law, and the efficient functioning of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which was inaugurated in 2008;
  • Supporting broad-based economic growth and sustainable development and maintaining mutually beneficial trade and commercial relations, including ensuring that benefits of the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) reach all sectors of the Guatemalan populace;
  • Cooperating to combat money laundering, corruption, narcotics trafficking, alien-smuggling, trafficking in persons (TIP), and other transnational crime, including through programs funded under the Central America Regional Security Initiative; and
  • Supporting Central American integration through support for resolution of border/territorial disputes.

U.S. Assistance to Guatemala

U.S. diplomatic engagement and assistance to Guatemala are guided by the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America (Strategy). Announced in 2015, the Strategy is a multi-year effort focused on all the countries of Central America to promote an economically integrated region that is fully democratic; provides economic opportunities to its people; enjoys more accountable, transparent, and effective public institutions, and ensures a safe environment for its citizens. The surge in irregular migration to the United States from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in 2014 was just one result of the region’s security, development, and governance challenges that will only continue to deteriorate if unaddressed. The Strategy focuses on three overarching lines of action: 1) enhancing citizen security; 2) promoting good governance; and 3) promoting prosperity and regional economic integration. The Strategy supports and complements the Alliance for Prosperity (A4P), a joint initiative adopted by the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in 2014 to improve economic opportunities for their citizens; enhance human capital development; improve public safety and enhance access to the legal system; and strengthen government institutions.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States is one of Guatemala’s largest trading partners. The two countries are parties to CAFTA-DR, which aims to facilitate trade and investment and further regional integration by eliminating tariffs, opening markets, reducing barriers to services, and promoting transparency. CAFTA-DR contains a chapter on investment similar to a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. U.S. exports to Guatemala include oil, agricultural products, articles donated for relief and low-value shipments, and machinery. U.S. imports from Guatemala include agricultural products, apparel, gold, and silver.

Guatemala’s Membership in International Organizations

Guatemala 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.

Bilateral Representation

Luis E. Arreaga is the Ambassador; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.(PDF 419 KB)

Guatemala maintains an embassy in the United States at 2220 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-745-4952).

More information about Guatemala is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: