Strategic positioning of East Timor
National flag
Basic Information Timor-Leste is located at the easternmost tip of the Nusa Tenggara Islands in Southeast Asia, with West Timor of Indonesia to its west, and across the Timor Sea to Australia in the south. It has a land area of about 15,000 square kilometres and a population of about 1.3 million. There is only a small Chinese population in Timor-Leste. The capital, Dili, is located on Timor Island. It is a deep-water port and the national political, economic and cultural centre of the country.
Investment Environment Timor-Leste is ready for a revitalisation. With the steady implementation of the national medium- and long-term strategic development plan and a large oil reserve, it will be possible to enter a period of rapid development in the future, which will entail more construction projects. The country is supported by its own funds and multiple funds from the international community. Many countries have implemented tariff-free treatment for products from Timor-Leste, which has created good opportunities for enterprises and individuals to invest and start businesses.

According to the World Bank’s report on business environment, Doing Business 2020, in terms of starting up businesses, Timor-Leste ranks 68th, which is the country’s best ranking among all indicators. There are only 6 procedures for starting a business, and the cost accounts for 0.7% of per capita income. The minimum paid-up capital accounts for 0.3% of per capita income, and takes an average of 13 days.

Timor-Leste’s economy is dominated by industry, with industrial added value accounting for 56.7% of GDP. About 10% of the workforce is engaged in industrial production, including textiles, drinking water, and coffee processing. The second economic pillar is the service industry, which is highly concentrated in the capital Dili. Due to the influx of foreign capital, service industries like trade, catering and hotels have achieved rapid development. Agriculture is also an important part of the country’s economy, with more than 50% of the population engaged in agricultural activities.

Trade Overview Timor-Leste’s main export destinations are Indonesia, the United States, Germany, and China. The main export goods are food and beverages (including coffee). The main origins for imports are Indonesia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), and the main imported goods are fuel and lubricants, food and beverages

China’s exports to Timor-Leste mainly include electrical parts, cement, iron and steel products, ceramic products, textiles, and furniture. Goods imported from Timor-Leste mainly include electrical parts, agricultural products, wood products.