Relations between Belarus and the United States of America
Diplomatic relations between Belarus and the United States were established in December 28, 1991. The Embassy of the Republic of Belarus was opened in Washington in 1992. In April 21, 2003 Mikhail Khvostov was appointed the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the United States of America.
Bilateral contacts in the early 90’s have laid a solid basis for political, economic and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries. However since 1997 the United States has carried out a selective engagement policy with regard to Belarus, which resulted in a drastic deterioration of the whole level of mutual cooperation.
At the same time maintaining good and stable relations with the United States has been a priority of Belarus' foreign policy. Belarus continues advocating normalization and further development of bilateral relations with the US based on mutual respect and partnership.
Despite certain difficulties in political sphere, trade and economic relations between Belarus and the United States have been increasingly successful. The United States is one of the biggest trade partners of Belarus, ranking the sixth place in terms of trade turnover except for CIS countries.
The 2006 trade turnover between two countries made up 729.9 million US dollars. Belarusian exports to the US increased by 78.6 percent and reached almost half a billion dollars, while positive trade balance increased more than 8 times compared with 2005 (from 18.2 to 163.5 million US dollars). Total amount of the US foreign investments to the Belarusian economy exceeded 80 million US dollars.
The United States is the biggest investor to Belarussian economy in terms of the value of attracted capital funds (123.8 million US dollars) and is the second after Russia in terms of the quantity of foreign and joint venture enterprises registered in Belarus with the US capital (523 by January 1, 2006).
Belarus has been actively developing cooperation with the American charity organizations, which render Chernobyl-related assistance to our country. In 2006 the United States again took the first place on the amount of charitable assistance to Belarus among the donor-countries.
Almost 25 percent of total humanitarian aid came to Belarus from the US. In April, 2006 the American charity organization “CitiHope International” provided 4.8 million US dollars in medical humanitarian aid for Belarus. In October, 2006 second consignment of aid at the rate of about 2.5 million US dollars was delivered to Minsk.
Despite political frictions both countries cooperate actively in fighting against human trafficking, crimes in the field of high technologies. The mutual cooperation in the field of intellectual property rights protection and elimination of natural and man-made disasters consequences also has a promising future.