Australia an important trading partner: Deputy minister

James Kon

The close relations between Brunei Darussalam and Australia continue to grow in strength as Australia remains one of the Sultanate’s top trading partners, accounting for 6.5 per cent of Brunei’s total trade in 2020.

The bilateral relations between Brunei Darussalam and Australia were lauded by Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin in his keynote address at the Brunei Market Insights Webinar, virtually organised by the Australian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam and Austrade on November 25.

The deputy minister said the Sultanate’s Economic Blueprint serves as an impetus for the country’s growing economy, underpinned by strong governance, resilient and thriving businesses to harness economic opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This will allow for increased innovation, productivity and competitiveness along with the emergence of new industries.

Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf also touched on the government’s plan to diversify away from the traditionally important areas of oil and gas, particularly in the downstream oil and gas, food, tourism, services and info-communications technology sectors. He encouraged Australian businesses and investors to explore potential opportunities and partnerships in the Sultanate.

Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Tiffany McDonald, Austrade Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner Paul Sanda and Chief Executive Officer of Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd Dr Nur Rahman attending the webinar. PHOTO: MOFE

The webinar, officiated by Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Tiffany McDonald and Austrade Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner Paul Sanda, aimed to promote investment and business opportunities in the Sultanate to Australian businesses and exporters, according to the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE).

The Australian High Commissioner, in her opening remarks, said as a small country, the Sultanate has made prudent decisions on diversifying its economy away from the oil and gas sectors, and has a strong reputation for its high Halal standards.

Coming out of its second COVID-19 wave, she also recognised the Sultanate has one of the world’s best records in managing the spread of the pandemic.

Together with development plans laid out through Brunei Vision 2035, its economic diversification plans as well as strategies to increase innovation, competitiveness and productivity, opportunities exist for Australian investors and exporters. Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd Dr Nur Rahman also delivered a presentation on the company’s objectives and activities.

The company is one of the local business ventures benefitting from sourcing high quality and nutritious meat from Australia.

The CEO welcomed the exploration of business opportunities with Australian companies, with participants also engaged in discussions on business and investment opportunities in the Sultanate.

Permanent Secretary (Investment) at the MoFE Haji Khairuddin bin Haji Abdul Hamid and Permanent Secretary (Economy) at the MoFE Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah binti Haji Ahmad Ariffin attended, along with officials from the MoFE and the Brunei Economic Development Board.