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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 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 520591625873934
Exports of Goods (million USD) 45154264616473
Imports of Services (million USD) 447447315723617
Exports of Services (million USD) 9792402856
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 361110n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 171,0512078n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -589-566-5101,4881,093
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 647185100n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 62494836n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3213764n/a

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

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To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export Controls

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows


Main Services

0.1 bn USD of services exported in 2022
0.6 bn USD of services imported in 2022

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs duties


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
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Department of the Legal and Treaties Affairs

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Latest Update: November 2023