U.S. Relations With the Federated States of Micronesia

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Fact Sheet
February 25, 2016

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


Following World War II, the islands of what is now the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) became part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the United States through the Department of Interior Office of Insular Areas (DOI/OIA). The FSM became independent in 1986, when it entered into a Compact of Free Association with the United States that included 15 years of substantial development aid. An Amended Compact was negotiated in 2003 for an additional 20 years of financial assistance under bilateral management. The basic relationship of free association continues indefinitely.

The Governments of FSM and the United States maintain deep ties and a cooperative relationship. Reflecting the strong legacy of trusteeship cooperation, over 25 U.S. federal agencies operate programs in the FSM. Under the Compact, the United States has full authority and responsibility for the defense and security of the FSM. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. Also under the Compact, FSM citizens are allowed to live, work, and study in the United States without visas. FSM citizens volunteer to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces at approximately double the per capita rate of U.S. citizens, and are eligible for admission to U.S. Service Academies, though they cannot serve as commissioned officers as non-citizens. U.S. citizens can live and work freely in the FSM with no visa requirements.

U.S. Assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia

Pursuant to the Compact of Free Association between the USA and FSM, the U.S. Government provides grant and program assistance. The United States provides over $130 million in direct assistance every year, along with a variety of federal grants and services, until 2023. The assistance includes the progressive dedication of a portion of the aid to a jointly managed Trust Fund. The Compact’s overall goal is to assist the FSM on its path to economic self-sufficiency post 2023. A Joint Economic Management Committee, consisting of representatives of both nations, is responsible for ensuring that assistance funds are focused effectively and properly accounted for, with the aim of fostering good governance and economic self-reliance. Grant assistance under the Amended Compact focuses on six sectors: education, health, infrastructure, public sector capacity building, private sector development, and the environment. The U.S. Department of the Interior is responsible for monitoring and implementing the Amended Compact.

The FSM is highly vulnerable to natural disasters and the adverse effects of climate change. U.S. foreign assistance also focuses on strengthening FSM’s climate resilience through disaster management.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The FSM's national government plays a central role in the economy as the recipient and distributor of Compact funds to the states. Subsistence farming occupies half of the adult population. Of the adults working in the cash economy, more than half are employed in the public sector, earning 58% of total national wages. Unemployment is 16%. The United States is FSM’s largest trade partner. Total exports were only 18.5% of imports in 2013, with the trade deficit roughly equal to all of the aid provided by the U.S., China, Japan and Australia.

FSM’s Membership in International and Regional Organizations

The Federated States of Micronesia and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. The Federated States of Micronesia was admitted to the United Nations on 17 September 1991. Additionally outside the region, FSM is a member or participant of the ACP (Cotonou Agreement), the Alliance of Small Island States, the Asian Development Bank, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the G-77, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the International Development Association, the International Finance Corporation, the IMF, the International Olympic Committee, the ITU, the NAM and the World Meteorological Organization.

FSM is a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The FSM also is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the headquarters of which are located in the FSM. In addition, the FSM is one of the eight signatories of the Nauru Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Management of Fisheries of Common Interest that collectively controls 25-30% of the world's tuna supply and approximately 60% of the western and central Pacific tuna supply.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Micronesia is Robert A. Riley; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Micronesia maintains an embassy in the United States at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; tel: 202-223-4383. The position of FSM Ambassador to the USA is currently vacant.

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

Department of State Micronesia Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Micronesia Page
U.S. Embassy: Micronesia
USAID Pacific Islands Page
History of U.S. Relations With Micronesia
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Travel and Business Information