Vietnam and Brunei established their diplomatic ties in 1992 and upgraded their relationship to a comprehensive partnership during a State visit to Vietnam by Sultan Darussalam in March 2019. However, the two-way trade has yet to match potential of the two countries.
Le Hoang Oanh, head of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoT), said with 16 free trade agreements (FTAs), including new-generation ones like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Vietnam will boost its exports to markets in the region and Brunei in particular.
She noted that agricultural and aquatic exports to Brunei need to satisfy Halal standards, viewing the country as a promising market for Vietnamese consumer goods, farm produce and food.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has advantages in coffee, rice, processed products, seafood, spices and vegetables, and the country can participate deeper in the Halal food supply chain in Southeast Asia and Brunei as well, the official said.
Statistics show that bilateral trade value was 725.7 million USD last year, up 147.6% over a year earlier, of which Vietnam’s exports reached 92.3 million USD, a year-on-year rise of 163.8%.
As of December 2022, Brunei ranked 26th among the 141 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 157 valid projects worth 971 million USD, mainly in processing, manufacturing, construction and real estate.
The two countries have cooperated fruitfully in oil and gas, with the Petrovietnam Drilling and Well Service Corporation (PV Drilling) having officially established its branch in Brunei.
They also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in agriculture and fishery between the two governments in May 2013, and launched a pilot project on rice cultivation in Brunei from September to December 2013.
In particular, annual meetings of the joint working group in the field of fishery between the two countries were held in Brunei in 2014, Ho Chi Minh City in 2015, and Brunei in 2017.
At a meeting on the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) last year, MoIT Minister Nguyen Hong Dien and Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and second Minister of Finance and Economy of Brunei Dato Amin Liew focused their discussion on the initiative on enhancing cooperation on clean energy, and agreed to accelerate the formation of the initiative so that it can be launched early this year.
Experts said the two countries will step up cooperation in such areas as agro-forestry-fishery, Halal food, and infrastructure construction.
Oanh suggested Vietnamese firms actively access the Brunei market and partners, and implement their own business and marketing strategies.