By Azaraimy HH
Trade with China has grown to the extent that China is now one of Brunei's largest trading partners with greater prospects for more trade and economic development.
The two governments have just declared 2011 as the Year of Friendship between Brunei and China as one of the commemorative activities marking the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relation.
The Ambassador-At-Large, HRH Princess Hajah Masna, said economic cooperation between Brunei and China continues to strengthen, showing significant increase in the use of Asean-China Free Trade Agreement by local exporters and importers. HRH Princess Hajah Masna hoped the private sector in the country would continue to take advantage of this.
HRH Princess Hajah Masna said she saw many potentials and opportunities to be taken up through public-private sector partnerships.
"In this regard, we encourage more joint-venture activities in viable areas. This will surely broaden and deepen our cooperation as well as assist in our efforts towards economic diversification," HRH said.
In HRH's Sabda during the 5th anniversary celebration of Brunei-China Friendship Association last night at the Jerudong Polo Club, HRH praised that "it is encouraging to see the presence of many Chinese companies in our country engaged in such areas as telecommunications, infrastructure, energy, aquaculture and agriculture".
Brunei and China share deep-rooted historical ties. Today, this relationship has thrived extremely well and spanned a wide spectrum of areas of cooperation.
HRH said: "This is attributed to the solid foundation laid down by our Leaders over the years, for both our countries to cooperate as neighbours and partners, based on mutual respect, trust and peaceful co-existence.
"We have also developed stronger bonds of friendship through frequent exchanges of visits at various levels and closer cooperation in many fields.
"I am pleased to say that what the Association has done over the past five years has in fact also contributed to these friendly relations ...
"With China's impressive growth and our own economic development, we (have reason to) have greater prospects for more trade and economic collaboration (with China).
"Looking ahead, I can still see potentials for many business and economic opportunities to be taken up through closer public-private sector partnerships.
"In this regard, we encourage more joint-venture activities in viable areas."
Both countries, HRH Princess Hajah Masna said, place great importance on socio-cultural cooperation. Cooperation in health, education and sports is also progressing very well.
"One of the tangible successes is the Brunei Heritage Garden in Nanjing, which is a showcase of our longstanding relations," HRH said.
"Underlying all these activities is the enhancement of people-to-people relations. This is where I see the importance of the Association's continuing role.
"On this note, I would like to thank the President of the Association for sharing the impressive and active cultural cooperation, ranging from high level visits, socio-cultural cooperation, as well as business and economic activities to expositions."
She lauded BCFA's active role during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and its on-going involvement and support to the Government for our continued participation in the Asean-China Expo in Nanning, with the setting up of the Brunei Business Liaison Office Building.
"I am confident that it would facilitate our business people to explore trade, investment and tourism opportunities, and find valuable partners," HRH said.
According to HRH, the 5th Anniversary of the Association coincides with two major events - the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Brunei and China, and the 20th Anniversary of the Asean-China Dialogue Relations.
In making this important milestone, the Governments of Brunei and China are organising several commemorative activities, including declaring 2011 as the "Year of Friendship" between both countries.
According to Dr Hj Kamaruddin, President of China Brunei Friendship Association (BCFA), the association was formed in April 2005, five months after His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's official visit to China, and it was formed in response to the formation of China-Brunei Friendship Association.
He said he was proud that the Brunei Darussalam Business Liaison Office was successfully handed over by the Guangxi Provincial Government to the Brunei Government during a soft opening on October 21, 2010, in Nanning.
"The Brunei Business Liaison Office will be useful for Brunei businesses wishing to invest in China as it will serve as a hub for all the information needed regarding Brunei-China relationship like encouraging more interaction among investors in both nations," Dr Hj Kamaruddin said.
Chinese Ambassador Mr Min Yongnian said the Chinese Embassy will continue its support for BCFA's work, and hoped that the BCFA will step up efforts and contribute more to China-Brunei Friendship.
- Borneo Bulletin
(9th January 2011)