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USAID Customs Reform Project

Language: English | Tetun

Speeches Shim


Timor-Leste aspires to membership in regional and global trade organizations but faces significant challenges in meeting the requirements. The government recognizes the financial benefit of increased trade, but an outdated Customs Directorate made trade difficult and slowed progress toward becoming a “best-practices” member of the international trading community.


National level and all customs posts in Timor-Leste

Key Counterparts:

Timor-Leste Customs Authority

Duration: June 2017 — July 2021


 $4.9 million

Partner Contact:

International Business Initiatives Corp. (IBI)

Mark Hamill

Chief of Party

Email: Mhamill@ibi-worldwide.com   

USAID Contact:

Ana Guterres

Project Management Specialist

Email: usaid-timor-leste-info@usaid.gov

Dili Port


USAID’s Customs Reform Project strengthens the Government of Timor-Leste’s (GOTL) Fiscal Reform Plan by improving the efficiency of international and cross border trade and transit. The project helps the GOTL reduce trade costs through implementing international best-practice customs clearance and transit procedures. This will encourage investment, increase government revenues, and support Timor-Leste accession to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organization. In line with good governance practices, the project increases transparency, clarity, predictability, and certainty in the trade environment. The project strengthens the institutional and human capacity of the new Customs Authority so it can follow global and regional best practices in trade and increase domestic revenues. Improved customs operations will help spur economic growth and investment by reducing trade costs and shortening customs clearance times.

Major Achievements:

  • USAID’s Customs Reform Project supported the Customs Authority (CA) to deliver training to 188 customs officials of whom 20 percent were women, which includes a total of 23 percent women working across different offices.
  • Pre- and post-training written assessments showed an average knowledge increase of 13 percent to over 77 percent.
  • USAID helped the Customs Authority deliver twenty-one weekly workshops to 338 participants of whom 21 percent were women.
  • FY 2020 USAID’s Customs Reform activity helped the Customs Authority (CA) reduce clearance times at Dili Seaport by 63 percent from 2017.
  • USAID introduced internationally accepted risk management guidelines and green lane use increased by 65 percent.
  • USAID supported the CA in conducting audits of 239 declarations, bringing the total number of USAID-supported audits to 442.
  • Since USAID began assisting the Customs Authority, modernization efforts have included 30 new regulations, procedures, or policies, of which 22 have been approved by the Customs Authority and 17 have been implemented.
  • The project assisted the Timor-Leste Customs Authority in licensing seven new bonded warehouses for goods entering the country.
  • With assistance from USAID’s Customs Reform project, implemented a new and improved customs declaration process.
  • Since March 2018, nearly 4,000 travelers arriving into Dili, Batugade, and Suai have used the new customs declaration process, marking a sustained improvement in customs efficiency


Last updated: June 17, 2021

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