East Timor is located north-west of Australia, at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, in one of the most vibrant emergent economic regions in the world – South-East Asia. The capital city of East Timor is Díli, which is also the country’s economic centre.
East Timor’s Strategic Development Plan includes a huge amount of building and civil construction work to be executed in the near future, such as administrative buildings, roads, bridges, sewerage plants, hospitals, ports and airports. It is therefore vital for investors to be aware of public tenders and public tender procedures, which can be a major business opportunity.
The exploration of oil and gas is one of the country’s major priorities. Petroleum revenues currently finance most of the state budget. Oil exploration has had a major influence on the country’s macroeconomic situation and has a positive impact on public spending, and is at the root of the country’s foreign trade surpluses.
The Private Investment Law includes tax and customs incentives for new investments, as well as special incentives for private investments outside of the main areas of Díli and Baucau.
In order to further assist companies that wish to invest in East Timor, the government has created a tax benefits package that can result in tax-free trading for a certain period of time, provided that Trade Invest, a government agency created to assist investors, issues a certificate confirming entitlement to these benefits.
In order to benefit from this package, it is first necessary to submit a business plan to Trade Invest. The certification procedure is normally concluded within 30 days, depending on the business plan.
Companies that wish to operate in East Timor must be incorporated in accordance with Timorese law and be registered at the Business Registration and Verification Office (SERVE). At SERVE, it is also possible to obtain business registration, to apply for a commercial licence and to obtain a Tax ID Number.
There are special licensing provisions in business areas that are considered to be medium or high risk, for example, petroleum, mining, and food & beverage, among others.
The Private Investment Law provides that investors may freely export any funds earned from their investments in East Timor, that is, profits and dividends, gains arising from the sale, liquidation and/or dissolution of companies, stock and/or shares, interest on loans, salaries and/or other personal income earned by the investor as Director/Administrator/Manager and income arising from the transfer of intellectual property rights, inter alia.
In order to comply with financial obligations related to their investment, all investors may apply within the Timorese banking system to convert funds into foreign currency, to be transferred abroad.
• Official Languages: Tétum and Portuguese.
• Currency: US dollar
Religion : Christian
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