Reaffirming UK Support for Timor-Leste’s ASEAN Accession News

19 December, 2023

Timor-Leste’s Key Challenges when it comes to Rules of Origin

Timor-Leste has made remarkable progress in its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with the result of these efforts to be seen when Timor-Leste officially joins the WTO as one of its newest members in February 2024.

In parallel, Timor-Leste is also seeking to join the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Timor-Leste’s membership in ASEAN would be a rare opportunity for ASEAN Member States to assist a young country in developing itself, including helping to accelerate its economic growth, social progress, and cultural development. Overall, Timor-Leste’s accession to the AEC will contribute to the country’s long-term growth through the transfer of knowledge, strengthening people-to-people relations, and increasing cooperation between Timor-Leste and ASEAN.

For this to become a reality, Timor-Leste requires technical support, which has been deemed by the GoTL as essential to achieving their accession to the AEC. One of the key areas of support needed is on the Rules of Origin (ROO) and developing a legislative framework that aligns with Chapter 3 – Rules of Origin of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

 TAF2+ Support to Timor-Leste

The TAF2+ programme will be providing technical assistance and capacity-building support from December 2023 until March 2024 to continue Timor-Leste’s progression towards accession into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) through a project aimed at implementing Chapter 3 – Rules of Origin of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA). Local exporters stand to benefit significantly from this implementation, deepening the country’s integration into regional and global value chains and enhancing competitiveness.

Minister for Trade and Industry, H.E. Filipus Nino Pereira, expressed gratitude, saying, “I would like to thank the UK Government for its support. This project will help us meet the ASEAN and WTO accession requirements. This initiative also reflects our ongoing commitment to diversifying our economy and deepening our regional economic integration.”

FCDO Chief Economist Professor Adnan Khan emphasized the UK’s commitment, stating, “To reaffirm the UK’s sustained commitment to supporting Timor-Leste’s smooth accession into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), I had the pleasure to be in Dili to launch TAF2+ Support to Timor-Leste on Rules of Origin (ROO). As we work together to establish Timor-Leste’s nationwide certificate of origin scheme, I look forward to seeing ‘Made in Timor-Leste’ products not only in Southeast Asia but also in the UK.”

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