U.S. Relations With Sri Lanka

Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
Fact Sheet
April 6, 2016

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


Relations between the United States and Sri Lanka are based on mutual interests and a shared commitment to the ideals of democratic governance. U.S. policy toward Sri Lanka is characterized by respect for its independence, sovereignty, and moderate nonaligned foreign policy; support for the country's unity, territorial integrity, and democratic institutions; and encouragement of its social and economic development. The United States is a strong supporter of ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka following the end of decades of civil conflict in 2009. Since the January 2015 change in government in Sri Lanka, Secretary John Kerry, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, and Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power have visited Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister has twice visited Washington, DC. In February 2016 the two countries held the inaugural U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue in Washington, DC.

U.S. Assistance to Sri Lanka

The United States has delivered more than $2 billion in development assistance to Sri Lanka since its independence in 1948. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States seeks to broaden and accelerate economic growth, develop democratic institutions, and promote the reconciliation of multi-ethnic and religious communities in Sri Lanka. The January 2015 Sri Lankan presidential election ushered in a new political era and opportunity for renewed U.S. diplomatic and development engagement to support the country’s ongoing reforms. During his May 2015 visit to Sri Lanka, Secretary Kerry announced $40 million in U.S. assistance to support Sri Lanka in implementing comprehensive reforms in areas including reconciliation, livelihoods, democratic governance, rule of law, public financial management, trade policy and facilitation, alternative dispute resolution, intellectual property rights protection, and ports and tourism management.

Bilateral Economic Relations

U.S. goods exports in 2015 were $372 million, up 4.7 percent from the previous year. U.S. exports consisted primarily of industrial machinery, medical instruments, aircraft parts, lentils, paper, specialized fabrics and textiles for use in the garment industry, fruits, and pharmaceuticals. Sri Lanka is currently the 115th largest export market for U.S. goods. Corresponding U.S. imports from Sri Lanka were $2.88 billion, up 7.8 percent. The next round of U.S.-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks will be held in April 2016 in Washington, DC.

Sri Lanka's Membership in International Organizations

Sri Lanka traditionally follows a nonaligned foreign policy. It participates in multilateral diplomacy, particularly at the United Nations, where it seeks to promote sovereignty, independence, and development in the developing world. Sri Lanka and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the UN, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka is Atul Keshap; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Sri Lanka maintains an embassy in the United States at 3025 Whitehaven Street, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-483-4025).

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

Department of State Sri Lanka Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Sri Lanka Page
U.S. Embassy: Sri Lanka
USAID Sri Lanka Page
History of U.S. Relations With Sri Lanka
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information