China continues to be one of Brunei Darussalam’s top trading partners and an increasing source of foreign firect investment (FDI), with total trade amounting to BND2.54 billion in 2018, Permanent Secretary (Investment) at the Ministry of Finance and Eco-nomy (MoFE) Haji Khairuddin bin Haji Abdul Hamid said yesterday.
He made the statement at the first China Mainland-Macao Joint Investment Promotion Mission to Brunei 2019 held at The Empire Hotel & Country Club in Jerudong yesterday. The business networking event connects key business figures and officials from Brunei and Macao.
Calling it a “positive trend”, the permanent secretary said this reflects the importance of Brunei’s trade ties with China and its contribution to Brunei’s economic growth and development.
He also spoke about the implementation of Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd’s USD3.445-billion Oil Refinery and Aromatics Complex in Pulau Muara Besar (PMB). Haji Khairuddin said the mega project, the largest overseas investment by a private Chinese company, provides a win-win relationship for both parties, given Hengyi’s aspiration to back integrate its production activities and Brunei’s desire to diversify its economy.
“Another of our partners is Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group Co Ltd, who we formed a Joint Venture company together with Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd, namely Muara Port Company (MPC), to invest, manage and operate our main sea port,” he added. He said Brunei values China’s participation in the development of info-communications technology (ICT), roads, ports and bridges as it contributes to employment and sharing of knowledge.
He said it is also in-line with Brunei Vision 2035, where the country envisions having a dynamic and resilient economy, filled with diversified economic sectors driven by a strong private sector focussed on trade and investment.
With five priority business clusters identified to achieve this vision, – Downstream Oil & Gas, Food, Tourism, Services and ICT, Haji Khairuddin said Brunei Darussalam continues to welcome Chinese trade delegations and explores new areas of cooperation.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong said Brunei-China relations have come up to the best stage in history. “Last year, the year on year growth of bilateral trade had increased by 86 per cent, which rates the first in ASEAN member countries, China is the largest import market of Brunei and the second largest trading partner,” she said.
She also shared that from January to July this year, Brunei’s exports to China increased by 143 per cent, and the growth rate ranks the first among ASEAN member countries.
Trade balance between the two countries has also further improved and key investment and infrastructure projects are advancing steadily, she added, expressing her confidence of the “very promising” level of cooperation.
“I hope Bruneian and Chinese entrepreneurs seize the historical opportunity to expand bilateral cooperation in trade, investment and other fields, to work together on developing third-party market cooperation, to explore a new mode of achieving complementary advantages, mutual benefit and joint development, and to make contributions to the development of China-Brunei Strategic Cooperative Partnership while realising the development of your own businesses,” she added.
The three-day event, organised by China International Contractors Association and Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, will see a series of Investment Promotion Programmes held including Brunei Investment Opportunity Briefing, Business Matching and Networking Lunch to connect key figures and professionals from Brunei’s infrastructure sector.