• Reed Collins

Private Sector Engagement: Supporting Public & Private Members of the Trading Community

IBI is proud to be the prime implementing partner on USAID/Timor-Leste’s Customs Reform Project (CRP).


Since the start of CRP in 2017, the average time it takes to clear goods through Customs has been reduced from 9 days to 2.7 days, representing a 70% decrease. How has the Customs Authority, with support from IBI staff, accomplished this? A key component of this success flows from the project's efforts to engage the private sector trading community and its government counterparts through capacity building trainings and workshops.


In partnership with the Associação Empresarial das Mulheres Timor-Leste (AEMTL), a women’s business association, USAID-CRP assisted the Customs Authority (CA) in the delivery of a workshop for 16 women in the trading community. The workshop focused on how to correctly apply customs regulations when importing or exporting goods. Following this successful event, USAID-CRP will support the AEMTL and CA in the delivery of further workshops to female members of the trading community on a broad range of trade related matters.

As part of the project’s capacity building focus, IBI provided training to government officials to expand their in-house training skills and reinforce risk management procedures. IBI assisted the CA Training Unit to better understand training material and presentation techniques which further empowered CA trainers to deliver courses. Workshops facilitated by IBI staff helped the Risk Management Directorate apply key parts of the risk management standard operating procedure, which resulted in more effective targeting and selection of higher-risk consignments. In one example of success, declarations targeted for red lane inspection (physical inspection) declined to less than 10% of goods.


Other trainings provided by IBI increased the private sector’s understanding of new and existing customs rules. IBI staff shared information with private warehouse operators, increasing their ability to recognize and comply with associated regulations issued by the CA. At the same time, over 500 members of the trading community have bolstered their knowledge on tariffs, valuations, and classification requirements via the CRP established Help Desk’s on-the-spot support. The guidance shared during these activities has resulted in enhanced compliance with rules and the avoidance of unnecessary sanctions or penalties. In some ports of entry, declaration error rates decreased from 90% to as low as 10%, despite a significant increase in goods being processed.


CRP continues to show a strong ability to adapt to the new realities of COVID-19 by delivering trainings through a variety of virtual formats, and, when appropriate, in person.

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