| James kon |
CHRISTIAN Ramage, the French Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, paid a courtesy call to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Bandar Seri Begawan’s (CCC BSB) premises on Monday afternoon to gain a better understanding of its role in the local economy and in hopes of boosting business ties between France and Brunei.
The ambassador said, “I understand that the CCC BSB is an important part of Brunei’s community and the body has a large representation from the country’s business community, encompassing various sectors of the economy such as shipping, trading, retail, car sales, travel agents, and more.
“This is an opportunity to understand the contribution of the local Chinese community to Brunei’s economy and their potential role in its economic diversification activities.” The French ambassador also spoke about France’s commercial potential for Brunei.
“France is a big market, especially in Halal food. France is a gateway to the European market which holds 500 million consumers. If we think of shrimp production in Brunei for instance, France could be a huge potential export market, giving further access also to the European market,” he said, adding that there has been significant business activities carried out between both countries.
“There is a large number of French products being imported into Brunei, and significant investments have been made by French companies in the sultanate as well,” said the envoy.
“Further work can be done to promote France as a tourist destination to Bruneians. France, the number one tourist destination in the world, received 80 million visitors last year and a figure of 100 million visitors by 2020 has been targetted.
“Visitors to France can enjoy historical places, culture, the museums and also its eclectic cuisines and incredible gastronomic experience,” he added. “France is also a country with large Asian and Chinese communities. This is a potential starting ground on which we could further build and enhance relations between Brunei and France.” Meanwhile, Malcom Lim, CCC BSB president, gave a brief introduction on the chamber’s activities during his welcoming speech for the French ambassador.
“Our core activities are focussed on enhancing and promoting business development in the country and underpinning the economic growth of the nation, to promote social welfare, education and culture, and to act as an intermediary between the government, private sector and foreign business entities, as well as on promoting and enhancing cooperation and harmonisation between key stakeholders in the community,” he said.
“The association also participates in local trade and national celebrations, as well as organises trade missions and promotes trade to strengthen regional and international business relationships,” Lim added.
“We look forward to uncovering common interests between our two countries and explore business opportunities, cultural exchanges and many other areas where we can achieve sustainable growth.”