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Our relationship with Timor-Leste

 New Zealand has a warm relationship with Timor-Leste. We made a significant defence and security contribution to Timor-Leste’s establishment as a new nation from 1999 to 2002, and following the internal conflict of 2006. As the security situation has improved, our military and police are less involved and the focus has turned to supporting Timor-Leste’s growth into a stable, democratic and prosperous nation.

Our relationship includes a programme of development assistance and emerging two-way trade and economic links. We encourage New Zealand businesses to pursue opportunities in Timor-Leste, and support Timor-Leste to identify and develop economically sustainable industries in sectors where it has competitive advantage. Timor-Leste is increasing its own engagement in New Zealand and opened an embassy in Wellington in 2014.

Timor-Leste is a respected voice for post-conflict states in the multilateral arena. The country has applied for ASEAN membership and formally declared its wish to join the Commonwealth in 2013.

Defence and policing

Following the 1999 referendum that led to the restoration of independence, New Zealand Defence and Police personnel were deployed to Timor-Leste in significant numbers. Since the withdrawal of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in December 2012 and the withdrawal of the International Stabilization Force (ISF) in March 2013, our Defence and Police presence has reduced significantly.

Two NZDF personnel are deployed with the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-leste (F-FDTL, Timor-Leste Defence Force) providing strategic and logistics advice to the Timorese military. Three police officers are based there long-term under the bilateral Timor-Leste Community Policing Programme.

Trade

2019 statistics

Total trade

$2 million

 

Exports to Timor-Leste

US $1.89 million

Top exports: meat and dairy, electrical machinery

Imports from Timor-Leste

US $168,000

Top imports: Tea, Coffee, Mate and spices

GDP

US$2.58 billion

 
GDP per capita US$2,036  
GDP growth 0.87%  

Aid

The New Zealand Aid Programme works with Timor-Leste to support the development of a sustainable and growing economy. Together we're focused on private sector development, education and training, and security and justice.

Find out more about our aid programme in Timor-Leste

Embassies

  • New Zealand is represented in Timor-Leste by the New Zealand Embassy, Dili
  • Timor-Leste is represented in New Zealand by the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Welington 

Recent official visits

New Zealand to Timor-Leste
  • September 2019: Minister for Defence Ron Mark attended the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the International Force East Timor (INTERFET) taskforce.
  • August 2019: Minister for Transport Phil Twyford attended the 20th Anniversary of Timor-Leste’s Independence Referendum.
  • May 2017: Minister for Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell attended the Timor-Leste Presidential Inauguration and independence celebrations.
Timor-Leste to New Zealand
  • February 2017: Prime Minister HE Dr Rui Maria de Araujo visited New Zealand, accompanied by Foreign Minister Hernani Coelho and Interior Minister Longuinhos Monteiro
  • March 2016: Visit to New Zealand by the Prime Minister’s Fellow for Timor-Leste, Former President and Prime Minister HE Jose Ramos-Horta

 

News & Events

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The new Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC 2021) Bill was introduced to the House on Wednesday by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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