Strategic positioning of East Timor
National flag
Basic InformationTimor-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 thousands square kilometres and a population of about 1.35 million by the end of 2023 (estimate of IMF). The capital, Dili, is located on the northeast coast of the island of Timor. It is a deep-water port and the national political, economic and cultural centre.
Investment Situation

Timor-Leste is readily waiting for revitalization with relatively slow development over the years. However with the gradual implementation of the national medium- and long-term strategic development plan and a large oil reserve, it will continuously bring about the needs of construction projects in the future, bringing more investments from various types of funds namely private entities, international organizations and other countries. Timor–Leste might embrace a period of rapid development. At the same time, many countries have implemented tariff-free treatment for most of products originated from Timor-Leste, which has created good opportunities for enterprises and individuals to develop foreign trade, investment and businesses.

Timor-Leste is an agricultural country, more than 80% of active population are engaged in agricultural activities, but agriculture is still underdeveloped and food is not self-sufficient. Main agricultural products include corn, grain, potato, etc, cash crops include coffee, rubber, coconut, etc. About 10% of the workforce is engaged in industrial production, including textiles, drinking water bottling and coffee processing. The service industry is another important economic component, 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. 

According to the “2023 World Investment Report” published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), by the end of 2022, Timor-Leste has attracted US$1.5 billion on stock of inward direct investment. According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce of China, by the end of 2022, the stock of direct investment of China in Timor-Leste was US$95.28 million. The main areas of investment were restaurants, hotels, department stores, construction materials and service industry.

Trade in Goods

In 2022, Timor-Leste’s main export destinations are China, Indonesia and Korea. The main export goods are petroleum and coffee. The main origins for imports are Indonesia, China, Singapore, Taiwan (China), and the main imported goods are refined oil, automobile, machinery and accessories. In 2023, China’s exports to Timor-Leste amounted to US$260 million, mainly include welded pipe and polished rice. Goods imported from Timor-Leste amounted to US$80 million, mainly include crude oil and coffee.