Subject: East Timor to negotiate loan from China for infrastructures

also So what are they doing in China? 

East Timor to negotiate loan from China for infrastructures [ 2009-10-15 ]

Dili, East Timor, 15 Oct ­ East Timor’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Zacarias da Costa, has said that east Timor is negotiating a loan from China to fund the country’s large infrastructure projects.

The minister also told Portuguese news agency Lusa that the issue would be discussed Friday during a meeting between Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in the Chinese city of Chengdu.

During the official visit by Gusmão to China, East Timor plans to boost bilateral cooperation.

Minister da Costa also told Lusa that “China’s interest in access Timorese oil resources,” would also be discussed.

China’s interest in Timor’s fossil fuels, according to da Costa, reinforces the conclusion that construction of a pipeline from the offshore “Sunrise” oil field to East Timor and not to Australia is commercially viable.

“We have feasibility studies from several companies that prove it is technically viable,” da Costa said.

“We have been in contact not only with China, but also with Korea and international companies that clearly show that, from a commercial point of view, it is viable to bring the pipeline to East Timor and that is what we have to show to the Australians and the companies that are in the area,” he noted.

According to da Costa, “there is interest and all the options have to be considered and laid out on the table for discussion," noting that, according to the joint Timor Sea oil exploration treaty, signed by Australia and East Timor, the two governments have the final say on the pipeline. (macauhub)


So what are they doing in China?

October 15th, 2009 by The Lost Boy

Local civil society organization La’o Hamutuk sent around a concerned email this week. It raises questions about why top government brass are in China.

From the email:

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão ­ together with the Ministers of Finance, Infrastructure, and Foreign Affairs, the Secretary of State for Natural Resources, and the head of Timor-Leste’s armed forces, headed to China to participate in a Western China trade fair and visit a shipyard.

La’o Hamutuk points out that a law was recently passed in parliament that allows the finance minister to borrow money from foreign governments.


The cash-rich Chinese government is offering loans to many countries, usually linking them to purchases from Chinese businesses (common practice for many lenders, including the recently-agreed line of credit from Portugal to Timor-Leste). The loans often require guaranteeing Chinese access to natural resources, such as oil and minerals.

Nothing is confirmed, but it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to envision the government of Timor-Leste borrowing money from China. The Dili Insider posted on Twitter that the Timorese are in China to borrow a billion dollars. I don’t know if this is a joke, but I do know that Dili Insider’s sources are a lot better than mine, so it seems something is up.

One issue that has been the talk of town recently is the Referendum Package. A large chunk of money allocated in the budget for Timor-Leste’s infamous heavy-fuel-oil power plants was reallocated to this Referendum Package. Millions of dollars have now been set aside for local infrastructure projects.

Contracts are being given out with no tender process in what looks like a free-for-all. Contractors have until the end of the year to finish their projects. Everyone is talking about this, and it’s not just opposition lawmakers who are concerned.

And what of those power plants? Why was the money for them this year not used? Work on the Hera site has reportedly stopped. There are whispers that the contract with the Chinese company may be about to get deep-sixed. .

The government has been very secretive about the Referendum Package and Januario Pereira, Secretary of State for Electricity, Water and Urbanization, had nothing to say this week about the power plants.

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