BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) — China was Brunei’s fourth-largest trading partner in 2019, with trade flow amounting to 1.5 billion Brunei dollars (1.1 billion U.S. dollars), or 8.9 percent of Brunei’s total trade, Haji Mohd Amin Liew, Brunei’s Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy said.
China was Brunei’s largest source of imports with 915 million Brunei dollars, or 13.1 percent of its total imports, and China was the sultanate’s seventh-largest destination for export with 584 million Brunei dollars, or 5.9 percent of total exports, Haji Mohd Amin Liew was quoted as saying by the Borneo Bulletin daily on Friday.
According to the report, the growing bilateral relationship between Brunei and China was lauded by the minister in his recorded keynote speech at the 11th Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum themed “Push Forward Brunei-China Cooperation by Improving Interconnection.”
The establishment of Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC), a joint venture company between the Brunei government and Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, is an example of this growing cooperation, he said.
After three-and-a-half years of operation, the minister said, MPC contributed significantly to Brunei’s economic diversification efforts by leveraging from Beibu Gulf Port’s extensive expertise and capabilities.
“Today we are proud to share that we raised the efficiency of our container port operations by 60 percent since the takeover, achieved higher trade volume by 20 percent, fostered human capital development and consequently provided further job and business opportunities for our local economy.”
Looking at opportunities for both countries to capitalize, he said, “Brunei, rich in natural resources such as oil and natural gas, is located at the center of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). I believe that Brunei-China cooperation not only strengthens the connection between China and BIMP-EAGA countries, but also benefits China-ASEAN cooperation as well as the Belt and Road Initiative.”
According to the report, the minister said ASEAN and China are in the midst of establishing a multidimensional logistics network with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
With strong efforts by China in recent years to promote the development of smart ports in Beibu Gulf, coupled with the strategic location and connection with ASEAN member countries, the minister said, “Brunei is looking at the opportunity through the existing cooperation in ‘Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor’ to play a stronger role in the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.”
The 11th Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum and 2020 Beibu Gulf International Gateway Port Cooperation Summit was held in Nanning, southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Thursday. (1 Brunei dollar equals about 0.74 U.S. dollar)