East Timor seeking development partners for the country

4 July 2013

East Timor is seeking partners for human resource training, infrastructure construction and development of the oil, agriculture and tourism sectors, East Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said in Dili.

Speaking at Monday’s opening session of the ninth meeting of entrepreneurs for economic and commercial cooperation between China and the Portuguese language countries, which closed on Wednesday, Gusmão highlighted that East Timor is an emerging economy with a free and open market receptive to foreign investment and with some of the world’s lowest tax rates.

“Our goal with this fiscal policy is to attract investors who together with the private sector can drive the economy forward,” Gusmão said, as reported by Portugal’s Lusa news agency.

From 2007 to 2012 East Timor grew at an average annual rate of 11.9 percent. The International Monetary Fund has forecast that two-digit growth will continue.

Investment partners should focus on the areas of “human resources training and specialisation, construction of basic infrastructures and development of the economy, especially the oil, agriculture and tourism sectors,” the East Timorese prime minister said.

During the meeting the participants from China and the Portuguese-speaking countries stressed to East Timorese authorities the advantages of having a national currency. Since national independence in 2002 the US dollar has been the only legal tender for business transactions in the country.

The head of the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), Jackson Chang, said that East Timor should have its own currency, as using the monetary symbol of another country always causes problems, especially with respect to inflation.

The vice-governor of the Banco Central de Timor-Leste, Nur Alkatiri, said that a thorough study should be conducted before the country makes a decision on the issue and that his institution had already begun that process.

The gathering was organised by the Specialised Agency for Investment in East Timor in collaboration with the East Timorese embassy in Beijing, the Institute for the Support of Business Development in East Timor, the Forum for Economic and Commercial Cooperation between China and the Portuguese Language Countries, and the IPIM. (macauhub)