Timor-Leste Seeks Entry Into ASEAN Market

Timor Leste is keen to reap the potential benefits of tarifffree trade once it joins the ASEAN bloc, said the country’s commerce, industry and environment minister on Tuesday. Constâncio Pinto told reporters that joining the ASEAN free trade area is a key reason the country is eager for the regional group to approve its membership application as soon as possible.

Why it matters: Half a decade on since TimorLeste formally submitted its application for ASEAN membership, its fate remains uncertain. It is somewhat curious that a Timorese goverment minister should have to quote something he read in a newspaper about his country’s prospects for joining the regional grouping rather than citing more official sources. This would suggest that concerns over the lack of transparency and information over the application process remain true. One thing that is for certain however is that Dili’s enthusiasm for joining the regional grouping and making the most of the ASEAN free trade area is still strong. Whilst the current ten ASEAN member-states appear slow to fully maximize the recently launched ASEAN Economic Community, perhaps they could learn a thing or two from Timor-Leste’s enthusiasm.

Read more: http://www.thejakartapost.com/seasia/2016/08/03/timor-leste-seeks-entry-into-aseanmarket.html

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