Brunei - A pearl of Southeast Asia

Monday, 2016-08-29 11:58:51
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President Tran Dai Quang (R) and Bruneian Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah inspect the guard of honour at the welcoming ceremony on August 27 (Photo: VNA)
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NDO – Dubbed the “pearl of Asia”, Brunei left an impression of tranquillity and prosperity on the high-raking Vietnamese delegation that accompanied President Tran Dai Quang during his visit to the country from August 26-28. Nhan Dan reporter Ha Quoc Viet, who was part of the entourage, recapped the President’s activities during the visit.

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Although Brunei is one of the world’s smallest countries, it is also among the wealthiest, with an annual per capita income of US$40,000.

The State visit by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang to Brunei aimed to continue implementing the foreign policy of the 12th National Party Committee on deepening Vietnam’s international relationships.

The visit was highly appreciated by the host country, as it took place at a time when the two countries were celebrating the 25th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic ties. The Vietnamese President and the high-ranking delegation accompanying him were given a solemn welcome ceremony with a 21-gun salute at Istana Nurul Iman Palace.

At the talks, which took place after the August 27 ceremony, Bruneian Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah emphasised the significance of the Vietnamese President’s visit, as it would help consolidate and develop the friendship and co-operation between the two countries.

The two leaders expressed their pleasure at the fine development of the friendship and multi-faceted co-operation between their two nations nearly 25 years after bilateral diplomatic relations were established. They also reaffirmed their determination to further develop bilateral ties in the interests of their two peoples.

Vietnam and Brunei have maintained good political ties, and the two sides have regularly exchanged high-ranking delegations. However, trade between the two countries remains at modest levels. Although the bilateral trade turnover in 2015 had tripled since 2010, the figure only reached US$80 million.

As of June 2016, Brunei ranked 18th out of 144 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 205 projects having a total registered capital of US$2.18 billion. Vietnam has one project in Brunei worth US$650,000.

Consequently, the two leaders paid special attention to boosting co-operation in economics, trade and investment so as to achieve the target of US$500 million of bilateral trade by 2025. They agreed to boost information exchanges and to establish channels soon to provide information to business communities in the two countries in order to increase trade and promote investment, while encouraging businesses to participate in seminars and fairs held in each country.

The Sultan of Brunei expressed his gratitude to Vietnamese experts for their support in developing his country’s rice production, agriculture and fisheries. He expressed his hope that the two countries would step up collaboration in such fields.

During his stay in Brunei, President Tran Dai Quang attended a Vietnam–Brunei business forum on August 28, which was held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bruneian partners.

The event attracted a large number of businesses from the two countries, who expressed their interest in each country’s business environment and investment policies. They also hoped that the Vietnamese President’s visit would open more opportunities for co-operation between businesses in the two countries.

Addressing the forum, President Quang reiterated that Vietnam was determined to make three major breakthroughs: the improvement of institutions of the socialist-oriented market economy, the development of high-quality human resources and the modernisation of the country’s infrastructure.

With a population of 92 million, Vietnam’s purchasing power has seen rapid and stable growth, making the country more attractive to foreign businesses.

He stressed that Vietnam has actively boosted its integration process with a focus on economic integration, while establishing itself as a positive and responsible member of the ASEAN Economic Community.

He noted that Vietnam has signed twelve free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, while coordinating with Brunei to accelerate negotiations for the Regional Co-operation Economic Partnership (RCEP).

As such, Vietnam will have free trade relations with 55 partners, including all the G7 countries, he said.

He reaffirmed that Vietnam has always highly valued investment projects by Bruneian businesses in Vietnam. He pledged that Vietnamese authorities at all levels have created highly favourable conditions for foreign investors, and Bruneians in particular, to operate in Vietnam, stressing that “your success is our success”.

Before leaving Brunei, the Vietnamese head of state visited the Royal Museum, a famous tourist attraction in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan.