|Subject: LUSA: FM Ramos Horta urges
Portuguese to invest despite difficulties
02-04-2003 18:14:00. Notícia nº SIR-4871883...
East Timor: FM Ramos Horta urges Portuguese to invest despite difficulties
Lisbon, April 2 (Lusa) - Dili's foreign minister, José Ramos Horta, met with leading Portuguese entrepreneurs Wednesday, challenging them to invest in East Timor despite the discouraging scenario currently faced by his country.
East Timor's economy was "non-existent" and the scorched-earth campaign of withdrawing Indonesian forces in 1999 had left the country at "ground zero", Ramos Horta told a gathering of the Portuguese Industrial Association (AIP) in Lisbon.
Saying Dili was drafting investment-promoting legislation, the Nobel Peace laureate forecast interesting investment returns in the mid-term, underlining what he described as East Timor's location in a "very dynamic region", Southeast Asia.
Ramos Horta, who is on a four-day visit to Portugal, East Timor's former colonial ruler, also stressed that the shared Portuguese language made his country a good investment bet for Portuguese businesses.
Eighty-six Portuguese firms are currently active in East Timor, primarily in the sectors of energy, telecommunications, banking and water.
Dili's state secretary for trade and industry, Arlindo Rangel, also addressed the AIP meeting, pointing out that the economy was presently "more stable", there were no restrictions as to the type of investment, and planned legislation would "ease" foreign investments.
As priority investment areas, Rangel underscored education, health and agriculture.
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...Of course, if East Timor received the massive reparations it deserves from not a few governments and corporations, it wouldn't have to go around the world begging for investment dollars...but that's living in a different world, I guess...
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