| Azlan Othman |
BRUNEI Darussalam will continue to introduce new policies and review existing policies to become a more open economy, adhering to its international and regional commitments.
It remains committed to free and open trade and acknowledges the importance of foreign direct investment (FDI) in diversifying and developing the economy. Brunei Darussalam also put great importance on economic and technical cooperation as well as capacity building initiatives in helping the economy to adapt to the increasingly expanding global community.
This was highlighted in Brunei Darussalam’s policy statement with regards to the Sultanate’s trade policy review of the World Trade Organization (WTO) published recently.
The statement further added that Brunei Darussalam is to remain committed to strengthening the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system as enshrined in the principles and values of the WTO.
In realising its international commitments, Brunei Darussalam has undergone various changes since the last trade policy review in 2008, including the establishment of new agencies and bodies and the enactment and amendment of legislation pertaining to, among others, intellectual property rights and the harmonisation of standards.
Additionally, Brunei Darussalam continues to pursue free trade policies aimed at promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth and has implemented various programmes as means to facilitate trade liberalisation and, at the same time, diversify its economy, including in the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
For future growth, the policy statement said Brunei Darussalam remains strongly committed in its efforts towards achieving economic diversification and sustainable development.
The stable political system, sound macroeconomic policies, well-developed infrastructure in areas such as education, health, transportation and communications and strong legal and regulatory environment as well as stable supplies of basic amenities make Brunei Darussalam an attractive option for potential foreign investors.
Brunei Darussalam’s economic diversification and long-term economic strategy will also continue to be guided by the strategies and policy directions set out in the Vision 2035, which aims to make Brunei Darussalam achieve its aim by 2035, which is to create a dynamic nation and sustainable economy with income per capita within the top 10 countries in the world. Among the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) includes a GDP growth rate higher than six per cent per annum.
In recognising the importance of the oil and gas industry to the economy, the government is continuing initiatives to diversify and strengthen the energy sector, including increasing efforts in upstream activities and focusing on attracting FDI. These are useful to develop downstream industries by offering industrial facilities such as SPARK and Pulau Muara Besar (PMB). In addition, the government has identified export manufacturing and services sector, such as halal food processing; halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics; oil and gas-based petrochemicals; information and communications technology and high tech industries; air and sea logistics, as well as aviation and energy services as important efforts towards economic diversification.
Brunei Darussalam continues to place great emphasis on the commitments made in its Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which could potentially attract investors leveraging on these FTAs as a tool to gain greater market access. The government attaches importance to private sector development by presenting it with greater opportunities and experience through these FTAs.