Vice-Minister for ASEAN Affairs of Timor-Leste, Milena Rangel, speaks from table with flowers

New project to support Timor-Leste's global trade integration

2 March 2024
ITC News

By joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and key regional groups, Timor-Leste is working towards sustained economic growth. 

In February, Timor-Leste signed the agreements to join the WTO. The country is also working towards full membership in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and towards joining a trade pact known as the European Union-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement. 

Full membership to these organizations requires reforms, specialized skills and enhanced coordination across government and business. The new project at the International Trade Centre (ITC) will support the negotiations with comprehensive technical support and capacity building.  

Formally launched in Dili on 15 February 2024, the ITC started implementing the project in October last year. It has an EU-funded budget of three million euros. 

'Timor-Leste believes in the potential of trade as a driving force to promote economic growth and development, raise standards of living and to further the goal of stability, peace, and good governance,’ said Milena Rangel, the Vice-Minister for ASEAN Affairs. ‘We are confident that, if we continue down this path, we will be able to realize the aspirations of the Timorese people to create a prosperous and strong nation.’ 

‘From the European Union side, you can count on a continuous partnership: we are committed to support Timor-Leste in promoting sustainable development, through economic diversification and qualification of human resources,’ said Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Action Service. 

About the project 

The Timor-Leste: Support to Regional Integration and Trade project will support Timor-Leste’s development plans to modernize its economy and trade integration supporting the negotiations of the ASEAN Membership (by focusing on the AEC), the WTO accession, and the EU-Pacific EPA negotiations, ensuring the coherence across the three parallel negotiations as well as the smooth implementation of the commitments after these trade agreement negotiations are completed.