UK Supports Timor-Leste in ASEAN Trade Development Race Featured

By The INDEPENDENTE April 16, 2024 1010
ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn. ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn.

DILI:  In Dili, members of Timor-Leste and United Kingdom’s economic community are working on rules of origin legislation for local products that could help Timor-Leste export goods to Association of Southeast Asian Network (ASEAN) countries, the UK government said on Tuesday.

It is a small but important part of the international effort by Timor-Leste’s allies to support it meet free trade agreement requirements, a criteria for full membership in the 10-nation bloc.

Consultants from several countries have provided technical support to assist Timor-Leste’s ASEAN membership bid. Some, like the United Kingdom, are focusing on business legislation advances designed to strengthen Timor-Leste’s trade capabilities.

By developing a system to issue ‘Made in Timor-Leste’ certificates of origin, it aims to make it easier for Timorese exporters to prove their product’s quality, a requirement to trade with its neighbours and beyond.

A certificate of origin is a document widely used in international trade transactions which confirms that the product listed has met certain criteria to be considered as originating in a particular country.

“It is good to see the progress Timor-Leste has made towards AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) membership,” said Sarah Tiffin, UK’s Ambassador to ASEAN, who reiterated UK government’s ongoing support for Timor-Leste’s accession into ASEAN.

Other partners, such as members of the ASEAN bloc, have also provided Timor-Leste with ASEAN membership support.

Last week, ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn visited Dili to launch the “Future ASEAN Leaders” Program, a 14-month leadership program aimed at young and future leaders of Timor-Leste.

Hourn, who stayed in Timor-Leste for four days on official duties, said he is satisfied with Timor-Leste’s preparations for full membership into the bloc.

The ASEAN head has called on all ASEAN nations to support Timor-Leste in its preparation so that adherence is achieved “as quickly as possible,” according to a government statement.

Since Timor-Leste received  in-principle approval to become a member of ASEAN Timor-Leste in 2023, it has moved slowly toward membership to the bloc.

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