Timor-Leste’s Entry Into ASEAN Opens up Opportunities for Portuguese-speaking Countries

The President of Timor-Leste announced in Luanda that the country is set to become the 11th member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2025, bringing new opportunities for Portuguese-speaking countries.

José Ramos-Horta, who was speaking at a press conference after a meeting with his Angolan counterpart, João Lourenço, at the Presidential Palace, highlighted the potential for cooperation between the two countries and the economic dimension of the Portuguese-speaking African countries, saying that joining ASEAN will be a great opportunity for the CPLP, the lusophone community organization.

“With our accession to ASEAN, it is my conviction that Timor-Leste can be a major depot for the products of the PALOP or CPLP countries, for their redistribution in the area, like Singapore which, in addition to being a major financial center, is one of the largest transshipment centers in the world,” said the Timorese head of state.

Timor-Leste represented for the first time at an ASEAN Coordination Council meeting

During the meeting with João Lourenço, the leaders discussed the potential of bilateral cooperation between Angola and Timor-Leste and the economic potential of the PALOP countries and the CPLP, taking into account the fact that Timor-Leste, as a member of ASEAN, is part of a regional market of around 700 million consumers with a GDP of four billion dollars.

This group of countries “brings a great opportunity, at CPLP level, to move from declarations about the importance of the economic dimension to the realization of some acts of cooperation,” said Ramos-Horta.

Ramos-Horta also considered that Angola has not been sufficiently recognized for its post-conflict war management, and said that Luanda is “unrecognizable” pointing to the “great architectural works that are a symbol of the new Angola”.

ASEAN agrees in principle to admit Timor-Leste as 11th member 

ASEAN is a regional organization comprising ten Southeast Asian countries, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational and socio-cultural integration between its members and other Asian countries.

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