Evaluating Labor Advantages and Disadvantages for Timor-Leste's Integration into ASEAN: A Qualitative Analysis

  • Constantino da Conceição Costa Ximenes Escollano Brandão Graduate School, Dili Institute of Technology
  • Estanislau S Saldanha Senior Lecture Graduate School, Dili Institute of Technology
  • Joao Muni Graduate School, Dili Institute of Technology (DIT), Timor-Leste
Keywords: Advantages, Disadvantages, regional integration, Workers, ASEAN, Timor-Leste.


This qualitative research adopts the Empirical-Normative approach to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the strengths and challenges within Timor-Leste's labor sector, encompassing aspects such as skills, experience, labor market competition, and the implications of Timor-Leste's integration into ASEAN. Acknowledging the pivotal role of labor as a cornerstone of economic activities, particularly within the industrial sector where a skilled workforce is integral to optimizing human capacity, this study was conducted in Dili. It employed a flexible methodology involving direct engagement with key informants who play active roles in decision-making processes and sourced data from official government documents, including SEFOPE, MNEK, INDMO, SERVE, I.P., the World Bank, g7+, and ADN. The data analysis underscores a critical finding: the establishment of a free trade area may not yield significant benefits if the domestic industry lacks competitiveness vis-à-vis foreign counterparts. Majority of authors advocate for a prerequisite approach, underscoring the imperative for Timor-Leste to prioritize the development of its economic sector, nurture a skilled and qualified workforce, enhance agricultural quality, and substantially increase local production. These prerequisites are deemed indispensable for active and successful participation in regional and global free trade areas, warranting careful consideration before pursuing ASEAN membership.


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How to Cite
Escollano Brandão, C., Saldanha, E. and Muni, J. (2023) “Evaluating Labor Advantages and Disadvantages for Timor-Leste’s Integration into ASEAN: A Qualitative Analysis”, Timor Leste Journal of Business and Management, 5, pp. 43-57. doi: 10.51703/bm.v5i0.144.