The presence of the Sultan of Brunei at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November in Vietnam is expected to help tighten bilateral relations and bolster two-way trade towards the target of US$500 million by 2025.
This year, Vietnam and Brunei will celebrate the 25th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Brunei is a small import market of Vietnam. Bilateral trade reached US$97.7 million in 2016, a year-on-year rise of 32.6%. Vietnam mainly exported seafood and rice to Brunei.
The two countries have stepped up high-level delegation exchanges in recent years to increase mutual understanding.
For instance, President Tran Dai Quang paid a State-level visit to Brunei from August 26-28 in 2016, at the invitation of King Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah.
More recently, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng paid an official visit to Vietnam to attend the first session of the Vietnam – Brunei commission on bilateral cooperation.
Vietnam and Brunei have multiple cooperation mechanisms and have signed numerous trade agreements, including the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on sports and youth collaboration and the MoU on oil and gas cooperation.
These documents create a legal foundation for the two countries to enhance bilateral cooperation.
Vietnamese leaders lauded Brunei’s investment in infrastructure development and engagement in public-private-partnership projects in energy, services, tourism, agriculture and food processing in Vietnam.
Vietnam hopes Brunei will create the best conditions for member companies of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group to join oil and gas mining and supply in Brunei.
Additionally, Vietnam is willing to share experience in agriculture and seafood.
To achieve the bilateral trade target of US$500 million by 2025, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai suggested the two countries host activities to promote trade and investment, while enhancing all-level delegation exchanges to implement the MoU on trade and industry cooperation.
He hoped Brunei will assist Vietnam in developing human resources training and improve product management capacity.
Domestic businesses should prepare for the building of technical requirements such as product origin, quality and certification, as well as build effective marketing strategies to boost exports to Brunei.
Minister Lim Jock Seng called on Vietnam and Brunei to strengthen intra-ASEAN trade cooperation and make use of potential from big markets in the association to reduce dependence on extra-bloc partners.
He affirmed that Brunei will support Vietnam’s hosting the APEC Summit in 2017 and agreed to organise the second meeting of the Vietnam-Brunei commission on bilateral cooperation in Brunei in 2019.
At a business forum held by the Vietnam Chamber of Trade and Industry and its Brunei counterpart, President Tran Dai Quang said the Vietnamese and Bruneian business community should lift bilateral cooperation to a new height.
The President encouraged Brunei’s enterprises to invest in Vietnam, adding that favourable conditions will be created for Bruneian companies to cooperate with Vietnamese partners in energy, oil and gas, finance, real estate, tourism and infrastructure.
He also pledged that Vietnamese agencies from central to local levels will support foreign firms, including those from Brunei, to do long-term business.