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MoU signing to unlock potential for growth in BIMP-EAGA

By enabling shipping connectivity, promoting the free movement of goods and services, optimising common infrastructure and natural resources, and embracing economic complementarity, tremendous potential for growth and prosperity can be unlocked, said Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC) Chief Operating Officer Fazilah bin Haji Yassin.

He said this during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MPC and BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) Brunei yesterday morning to establish a BIMP-EAGA transshipment hub in the Sultanate.

He also emphasised the importance of sustainable and competitive cross-border trade within the sub-region and beyond.

“Through streamlined rules, regulations, and procedures, the MoU will facilitate cross-border trading, integrate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into supply and value chains, and undertake joint trade and promotion initiatives,” he said.

He added that the main purpose of the MoU is to establish a general framework and intentions for collaboration and facilitation of common interests in trade, tourism, and investments (TTI) among the BIMP-EAGA sub-regions. The deal is set to enhance connectivity, support trade, tourism, and investment in the BIMP-EAGA sub-region by leveraging the existing infrastructure of the West Economic Corridor (WEC) and North-Western Economic Corridor (NWEC).

ABOVE & BELOW: BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) Brunei Chairman Pengiran (Dr) Haji Haris bin Pengiran Haji Duraman with Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Zeng Caili; and BEBC Brunei Country Director Haji Alimen bin Haji Jaafar delivers his remarks. PHOTO: JAMES KON

Signing on behalf of BEBC Brunei was its chairman, Pengiran (Dr) Haji Haris bin Pengiran Haji Duraman, while MPC was represented by its chief executive officer, Zeng Caili.

BEBC Brunei Country Director Haji Alimen bin Haji Jaafar and MPC Chief Financial Officer Lyu Guoli witnessed the signing.

Meanwhile, Haji Alimen said, “In 2021, the population of BIMP-EAGA reached 80.3 million, and the EAGA gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to USD359.7 billion, accounting for 18.3 per cent of BIMP’s GDP in that year. EAGA exports continued to dominate total trade, with a trade balance of USD70.1 billion. The majority of trade, 89.5 per cent, was conducted with the rest of the world, while intra-EAGA trade accounted for only 10.5 per cent. In terms of Investment, there was a notable increase of 25.2 per cent in the BIMP region in 2021 compared to 2020. “

Additionally, in 2021, he said “foreign direct investment (FDI) in EAGA experienced an annual growth rate of 6.1 per cent.

“Domestic tourism remains the primary contributor to tourism in EAGA, accounting for 99.8 per cent of visitor arrivals in 2021”.

BEBC also applauded MPC for the strategic initiative to transform Muara Port into a central hub for this region.

“Expanding the port by additional 200 metres and working closely with the logistics and shipping businesses, including dialogues with logistics associations, demonstrate MPC’s commitment to understanding the international global shipping and logistics standards.” – James Kon