Brunei Update: July 9, 2018

Brunei Update | July 9, 2018
Authors: Kim Yaeger and Artha Sirait
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

July 16: ASEAN Presidents' Luncheon Series (Singapore)

August 20-21: 2018 Singapore Business Mission
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

AMBD and MAS Signed a FinTech Cooperation Agreement

The Monetary Authority of Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently entered into a FinTech cooperation agreement to foster innovation in financial services between the two countries. AMBD and MAS will share information on the developments and trends of financial technologies in their respective countries and promote joint innovation projects between Brunei and Singapore. The cooperation agreement is also expected to establish a framework for both AMBD and MAS to provide support for FinTechs to better understand the regulatory regime and opportunities in each jurisdiction. In addition, the two authorities will also work together to enhance the retail payment ecosystem between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. The agreement was signed during Singapore President Halimah Yacob’s visit to Brunei on her first state visit since taking office in September 2017. AMBD Managing Director Yusof bin Haji Abdul Rahman and MAS Deputy Managing Director Jacqueline Loh signed on behalf of their respective agencies. Click here for the official press release.

Singapore is often hailed as the hub for FinTech in Southeast Asia and would make a valuable partner for Brunei. In 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced plans to make the city-state the world’s first smart nation by 2030, utilizing technology to improve the economy and enhance its standards of living. MAS was tasked to create a smart financial center where technology is used to increase efficiency and create opportunities. The project had led to the formation of the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme, an initiative that aims to encourage financial institutions to collaborate with FinTech startups. Brunei is also looking to develop its FinTech sector, leveraging on its highly-skilled workforce. The launch of a FinTech regulatory sandbox in 2017 demonstrated Brunei’s commitment to advance financial innovation and digital finance. These are all part of Brunei’s Wawasan 2035, a nationwide plan that sets out the economic vision over the next two decades. It is centered on developing a diversified, dynamic and sustainable economy, moving away from oil and gas. In addition, Brunei has also released its Financial Sector Blueprint, which lays out the roadmap of how Brunei aims to establish a supportive FinTech ecosystem, develop competitive and innovative financial institutions and services to become one of Asia’s most competitive hubs by 2025.

Brunei and Singapore have a longstanding cooperation, building on existing pillars of cooperation between the two countries including the Currency Interchangeability Agreement which has financially benefited both parties. Cooperation such as this is expected to further strengthen the relationship and cooperation between both monetary authorities for the mutual development of the financial services in both countries.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
China-Brunei ties: Top diplomats meet in Beijing to discuss deepening bilateral relations
ASEAN Tourism Meeting
Singapore, Brunei hold joint coast guard exercise
Tourism under spotlight at ASEAN meetings
His Majesty sends congratulatory message to President Trump
Indonesian fined for smuggling cigarettes
Taiwan extends visa-free entry for Philippines, Thailand, Brunei
Brunei can employ education diplomacy to strengthen ASEAN bonds
Indonesia seeks to boost trade ties with Brunei
Envoy sees bright Brunei-US economic relations ahead

National Affairs
Brunei in Tier 2 league, still a long way to go: TIP report
Brunei's troubled heart: the story of Kampong Ayer

Defense & Security
Challenges Ahead for Brunei’s Military as It Marks 57 Years
What's Next for Vietnam-Brunei Navy Ties?

Economics
HM urges jobseekers to start businesses, be open to private sector jobs
Total Trade In March 2018
Brunei trade balance records 57.7 pct increase in March 2018
At a glance: Taxes in Brunei
Total trade increased by 11.5pc in March 2018
First duty-free shop in Brunei launched at BIA
Brunei capital becoming less expensive city for expatriates
Brunei's local markets witness booming business in Ramadan

Energy
Maersk Drilling awarded contract extension by Brunei Shell Petroleum
ASEAN-USAID fellowship for Bruneian solar scientist
PH, partner countries to boost biomass utilization

Food & Agriculture
South Korean company looking to collaborate on micro algae production
PDS Abattoir, Ghanim ink MoU

Health & Life Sciences
Sofas donated to SSB Hospital
Red flag raised on four products
‘Spiritual fitness’ equally important, says Sultan

ICT
Brunei government cautions public of hoax calls

Manufacturing
Kia Motors aims for top spot in Brunei

Travel & Tourism
Brunei is becoming an ecotourism destination
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

China-Brunei ties: Top diplomats meet in Beijing to discuss deepening bilateral relations CGTN 5th Jul 2018
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with visiting Brunei's Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Erywan Yusof in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss ways to deepen bilateral ties.

ASEAN Tourism Meeting BruDirect 5th Jul 2018
The Brunei Tourism Development Department of Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism is hosting the 3rd ASEAN Tourism Marketing Partnership Working Group meeting, ATMP-WG and the 48th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations and Related Meetings, ASEAN NTOs.

Singapore, Brunei hold joint coast guard exercise Channel NewsAsia 5th Jul 2018
Officers from the Singapore Police Coast Guard sailed to Brunei for a 10-day training exercise that is meant to test their skills and foster stronger bilateral relations.

Tourism under spotlight at ASEAN meetings Borneo Bulletin 4th Jul 2018
As part of the continuous commitment to further work closely to strengthen the tourism sector in the ASEAN Plus Three countries, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism through the Tourism Development Department is conducting the third ASEAN Tourism Marketing Partnership Working Group Meeting (third ATMP-WG), the 48th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (ASEAN NTOs), the 33rd Meeting of the ASEAN, China, Japan and Republic of Korean National Organisations (ASEAN Plus Three) and the 20th ASEAN-India Working Group Meeting.

His Majesty sends congratulatory message to President Trump Borneo Bulletin 4th Jul 2018
HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented to send a message of congratulations to Donald J Trump, President of the United States of America, as well as to the Government and people of the United States of America on the occasion of their Independence Day.

Indonesian fined for smuggling cigarettes Borneo Bulletin 3rd Jul 2018
The Magistrate’s Court yesterday slapped an Indonesian man with a whopping BND85,000 fine for possession of 117 cartons of smuggled cigarettes.

Taiwan extends visa-free entry for Philippines, Thailand, Brunei ABS-CBN News 27th Jun 2018
The trial visa-free travel program for visitors to Taiwan from the Philippines, Thailand and Brunei will be extended for another year, local media reported Wednesday.

Brunei can employ education diplomacy to strengthen ASEAN bonds The Scoop 26th Jun 2018
Brunei is well-placed to foster a greater sense of community among Southeast Asian citizens which will drive ‘ASEAN centrality’, a senior US State Department official said on Tuesday. 

Indonesia seeks to boost trade ties with Brunei Borneo Bulletin 25th Jun 2018
The newly appointed Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko said he seeks to expand beyond the strong and warm relations between Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of Indonesia to a more strategic level for the benefit of both sides, while aiming for deepened economic cooperation to balance the trade deficit between the two neighbouring countries.

Envoy sees bright Brunei-US economic relations ahead Borneo Bulletin 24th Jun 2018
The relationship between Brunei Darussalam and the United States of America was lauded yesterday by the US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Craig B Allen.

National Affairs

Brunei in Tier 2 league, still a long way to go: TIP report Borneo Bulletin 3rd Jul 2018
Brunei Darussalam has maintained its Tier 2 status, the second-highest ranking in the US State Department’s latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report published recently.

Brunei's troubled heart: the story of Kampong Ayer Southeast Asia Globe Magazine 13th Jun 2018
The once-populous Brunei district of Kampong Ayer, a community of stilted homes and wooden walkways, is a shell of what it once was in its heyday as residents drift to the city.

Defense & Security

Challenges Ahead for Brunei’s Military as It Marks 57 Years The Diplomat 3rd Jul 2018
On July 1, Brunei finally held this year’s iteration of an annual parade to mark the 57th anniversary of its military, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF). 

What's Next for Vietnam-Brunei Navy Ties? The Diplomat 3rd Jul 2018
Earlier this week, Vietnam’s naval chief paid a visit to Brunei. Though the interaction was just the latest in ongoing defense ties between the two Southeast Asian states, it nonetheless shed light on the cooperation underway in the naval domain among the two Southeast Asian states amid broader trends and developments and the future trajectory of relations in this area. 

Economics

HM urges jobseekers to start businesses, be open to private sector jobs The Scoop 5th Jul 2018
His Majesty the Sultan on Thursday reminded jobseekers to not be picky when looking for employment, despite the fact that many graduates still favour government jobs.

Total Trade In March 2018 BruDirect 5th Jul 2018
Total Trade in March 2018 increased to 1,145 point 2 million dollars compared to 1,026 point 8 million dollars in March 2017, representing an increase of 11 point 5 per cent year-on-year.

Brunei trade balance records 57.7 pct increase in March 2018= Xinhua 5th Jul 2018
Brunei's total trade balance amounted to 364.4 million Brunei dollars (267.0 million U.S. dollars) in the month of March, an impressive 57.7 percent year-on-year increase.

At a glance: Taxes in Brunei The Business Times 5th Jul 2018
With no personal income tax nor a VAT or GST, and a corporate tax rate which is the second lowest across Asean, Brunei’s tax regime is simple and, arguably, attractive to investors.

Total trade increased by 11.5pc in March 2018 Borneo Bulletin 5th Jul 2018
The total trade in March 2018 has increased to BND1,145.2 million compared to BND1,026.8 million in March 2017, representing an increase of 11.5 per cent year-on-year.

First duty-free shop in Brunei launched at BIA Borneo Bulletin 1st Jul 2018
The first duty-free shop in the country was officially launched at the Satellite Area of the Brunei International Airport (BIA) yesterday.

Brunei capital becoming less expensive city for expatriates Borneo Bulletin 30th Jun 2018
Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) is the world’s 106most expensive city for expatriates, improving from 100place last year, according to an annual cost of living report produced by consultancy firm Mercer published this week.

Brunei's local markets witness booming business in Ramadan Xinhua 13th Jun 2018
A chef prepares local delicacies at a Ramadan market in Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei, June 12, 2018. Brunei's local markets witnessed booming business in the month of Ramadan.

Energy

Maersk Drilling awarded contract extension by Brunei Shell Petroleum World Oil 5th Jul 2018
Maersk Drilling has been awarded a contract extension for the jackup rig Maersk Convincer by Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP).

ASEAN-USAID fellowship for Bruneian solar scientist Borneo Bulletin 1st Jul 2018
A Bruneian scientist whose research focusses on sustainable energy has been selected for the prestigious 2018-2019 ASEAN Science and Technology (S&T) Fellowship.

PH, partner countries to boost biomass utilization Philippine Information Agency 5th Jul 2018
The Department of Energy (DOE) hosted on Tuesday (3 July), an international conference and capacity building workshop on biomass, as part of the overall strategy for sustainable energy development in Southeast Asia. 

Food & Agriculture

South Korean company looking to collaborate on micro algae production Borneo Bulletin 4th Jul 2018
DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) yesterday hosted a Brunei-Korea talk to promote technology intensive venture business programme at its iCentre in Anggerek Desa.

PDS Abattoir, Ghanim ink MoU Borneo Bulletin 4th Jul 2018
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd and PDS Abattoir Sdn Bhd yesterday to explore collaborative avenues for potential exports of meat and meat-based products from Brunei Darussalam.

Health & Life Sciences

Sofas donated to SSB Hospital Borneo Bulletin 5th Jul 2018
ASIA Enterprise (AE) yesterday donated two sets of sofas to the Psychiatric Ward of Suri Seri Begawan (SSB) Hospital in Kuala Belait as part of its continuous initiative to give back to the community. The donation was aimed at providing more seats for patients waiting at the ward.

Red flag raised on four products Borneo Bulletin 4th Jul 2018
THE Ministry of Health (MoH) has alerted members of the public to a health product and three types of cosmetic products that have been tested by the Laboratory of Pharmacy Section, Scientific Laboratory Services, MoH and found to be adulterated with undeclared, potent western medicine. 

‘Spiritual fitness’ equally important, says Sultan Borneo Bulletin 2nd Jul 2018
HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Minister of Defence and Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) has called on the RBAF to recognise that the country cannot afford to fall behind in terms of rapid developments. 

ICT

Brunei government cautions public of hoax calls Xinhua 5th Jul 2018
The public of Brunei are reminded to be wary of scammers using mobile and landline phones to acquire personal information with the intention of causing financial loss, government agencies said Tuesday.

Manufacturing

Kia Motors aims for top spot in Brunei Borneo Bulletin 4th Jul 2018
KIA Motors Corporation is looking towards improving its position in Brunei, with the hope that Kia can be the No 1 car for Bruneians in the long run.

Travel & Tourism

Brunei is becoming an ecotourism destination Lonely Planet News 19th Jun 2018
It may be best known around the world for the fabulous wealth of its head of state, the Sultan of Brunei. But the tiny country of Brunei Darussalam, which occupies a small portion of the island of Borneo, is quickly developing a reputation as a centre of ecotourism.