Trade Profile

flag East-Timor East-Timor: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Timor-Leste is a country open to foreign trade, which represented 100% of its GDP in 2021 (World Bank, 2023) a decrease of 63% since 2020. Crude petroleum (70.7%) and Petroleum Gas (19.8%) represented more than 90.5% of total exports in 2021 (OEC, 2023). The main non-oil export product is limited to coffee (5.51%), which does not compensate for the bill of food imports. Imports are led by Refined Petroleum (14% of all imports in 2021), Coal briquettes (4.97%), rice (4,7%), Iron structures (3.12%) and cars with 2.67% (OEC, 2023).

According to 2023 figures from OEC, the country's principal import sources in 2021 were China (32.1%), Indonesia (30.6% of total imports), Singapore (12.8%) and Australia (9.2%). Principal export destinations were China (33.5%), Singapore (30.9%), Japan (20.1%) and Malaysia (7.88%). The factors that limit trade include poor infrastructure, weak development of its financial sector, high interest rates in private banks and the lack of a skilled labour force. The country has very few trade barriers and customs duties are low (the average applied tariff rate is 2.5%). Timor-Leste is a member of the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Developmental Bank, and is currently pursuing negotiations to become a member of the ASEAN.

Timor-Leste has a structural trade deficit. Imports (excluding services) reached 873 million USD in 2021, while exports (in sharp increase from the previous year) were still only 616 million USD, resulting in a reduced trade balance of 257 million USD in 2021 (WTO, World Bank, 2023).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 554520591625873
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2345154264616
Imports of Services (million USD) 316344320209391
Exports of Services (million USD) 7782763328
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -9361110
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -39171,0512078
Trade Balance (million USD) -664-589-566-5101,488
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 58647185100
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5662494836
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 23213764

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows


Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of International Federation for East Timor - IEFT
Assessment of Commercial Policy
East Timor and WTO
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
Member of International Federation for East Timor - IEFT
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finances

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Latest Update: September 2023