DILI, 26 october 2023 (TATOLI) – Maria de Lurdes Bessa, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Timor-Leste to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, and her Indonesian counterpart, Febrian Ruddyard, in Switzerland, signed a deal concluding their bilateral market access negotiations on services and goods as part of Timor-Leste’s accession process to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The signing of the bilateral agreement gave the country a major step closer to WTO accession, which is expected to take place on february next year.
Timor-Leste’s chief negotiator for WTO accession, Vice-Prime Minister and Minister Coordinator for Economic Affairs, and Minister of Tourism and Environment, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, witnessed the signing of the bilateral agreement via Zoom Conference on monday 23 october 2023.
“Timor-Leste’s commitment to be a member of the WTO is a priority. We also have the same commitment regarding ASEAN membership. Thus, as one the country’s bilateral trade partners, Timor-Leste believes that Indonesia will remain an important partner for Timor-Leste,” said during the signing of the bilateral agreement on monday (26/10).
Minister Lay stressed that the bilateral agreement “also marked a significant step towards boosting the country’s economic growth, trade relations and efforts” to join WTO and ASEAN while strengthening economic ties with Indonesia.
The Indonesian Chief Negotiator, Djatmiko Witjaksono expressed his satisfaction with the ties between the two countries, saying the two countries’ collaborative efforts “are not limited to the WTO membership, but also for Timor-Leste accession to ASEAN.”
This agreement is the result of the successful 6th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Timor-Leste to the World Trade Organization (WTO), led by Vice Prime Minister and WTO Chief Negotiator Francisco Kalbuady Lay, on october 11.
Following the successful 6th meeting of the Working Party, in Geneva, Switzerland, Minister Lay said that Timor-Leste will become the 165th member of the organization on february 2024.
“We are very happy with the result of the meeting. Hopefully, Timor-Leste will join WTO as a full member, in iebruary, next year,” Lay said.
Timor-Leste’s Working Party was established on december 7, 2016. The Working Party is chaired by Ambassador Rui Maceira from Portugal.
Journalist: Camilo de Sousa
Editor: Filomeno Martins