Subject: JP: Economic ties with East Timor not advantageous to NTT (JP)

Economic ties with East Timor not advantageous to East Nusa Tenggara, observer says

1 December 2002

KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara (JP): Economist Thomas Ola from The Widya Mandira Catholic University said here on Saturday that economic relations between East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and the newly independent state of East Timor, hitherto claimed to be promising, would not turn out to be to the NTT's advantage.

Thomas told Antara that the prospects of economic relations with a country lay in the size of its population and the per capita income of its people. East Timor's population of 700,000 was too small to make economic relations with it promising, he added.

Because of its small population, exports to East Timor would also remain small in volume while sales in the country would take a longer time as foodstuffs would not sell fast. "What is more, East Timor, with a per capita income of US$460 per year, is the poorest country in Asia," Ola said.

He pointed out that newly independent countries always tended to engage in intensive development activities. However, he had so far seen no indication of significant development in East Timor. "Investors will always expect to earn large-scale profits. But political and security stability in East Timor has not been conducive to investment," the university lecturer said.

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