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ECR for the month of April 2010

VIEWS: 36 PAGES: 9

									Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010

                                                   HIGH COMMISSION OF INDIA,
                                                      BRUNEI DARUSSALAM


                                                  Economic & Commercial Report
                                                    For the month April , 2010




Brunei Economy to grow 1.1 pc this year:

          The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its economic outlook mentioned that Brunei‟s economy
along with four other Southeast Asian economies that contracted last year –Malaysia, Singapore,
Thailand and Cambodia – are set to return to growth this year. In Southeast Asia, the aggregate growth is
likely to rebound to 5.1 per cent in 2010, from just 1.2 per cent in 2009, when five of the 10 economies
contracted (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand). ADB said the Brunei‟s
economy is forecast to grow by 1.1 per cent in 2010 and 1.5 per cent in 2011. The recovery is based on
the expected gradual rise in global demand for energy, higher oil and gas prices and the startup in the
first half of 2010 of a large methanol plant under construction for the past six years.
          Construction activity relating to Pulau Muara Besar (PMB) port and a power transmission line
from Sarawak to Brunei, as well as the likely start of construction on some agri-processing projects will
also support growth. Foreign Direct Investment is expected to pick up as the recovery in Asian economies
strengthens combining with rise in public investment scheduled under the development plan. Private
consumption is likely to increase modestly with improved domestic economic prospects.
          Inflation is forecast to edge up to 1.7 per cent in 2010 before moderating to 1.5 per cent in 2011.
Its evolution will depend largely on movements in global prices of food, most of which is imported. A
forecast to modest economic growth in 2010 is based on higher global demand and prices for
hydrocarbons, the start of output from a new methanol plant and a pickup in construction. As oil and gas
reserves are depleted, the main development challenge is to diversify into new sources of growth. The
GDP slowed down by 2.8 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2009 (the latest period for which
data are available). Oil and gas production fell by a further 6.7 percent and growth slowed in the non-
energy sector. GDP is projected to have slowed down by 1.2 per cent for the whole year. Preliminary
trade data for all 2009 indicate that exports (in decreasing share) to Japan, Indonesia, Republic of Korea
and Australia (which accounted for 87 per cent of Brunei‟s exports) dropped by 45 per cent, while
imports (also in decreasing share) from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, People‟s Republic of China and
Thailand (which accounted for 73 per cent of total imports) declined by 1.2 percent. As a result the current
account surplus is likely to have narrowed to a still comfortable 35 per cent of the GDP in 2009.

Income Tax Order 2010 comes into force:

        The Ministry of Finance announced that His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei
Darussalam has consented for the introduction of the Income Tax Act (Amendment) Order 2010 with
effect from April 17, 2010 to establish infrastructure necessary to achieve effective exchange of
information with its treaty partners. The introduction of the Income Tax Act (Amendment) Order 2010 is in
line with Brunei Darussalam‟s earlier endorsement of the internationally agreed standard on exchange of
information that is currently universally accepted. The new legislation would enhance international
cooperation as it allows Brunei Darussalam to extend assistance to its treaty partners and also obtain
information for the effective implementation of domestic tax laws.

JPKE Conducts Household Expenditure Survey:

                    The Government of His Majesty through the Department of Economic Planning and
Development (JPKE) would be conducting the Household Expenditure Survey 2010-2011 starting from
April 1 till March 31, 2011. It is carried out under the Statistics Act, Chapter 81 from the laws of Brunei
Darussalam and is the fifth such survey which was previously conducted in 1977, 1987-88, 1997-98 and
2005. The Survey covers selected household for a period of one month only. The survey requires a
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Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010
period of 12 months to take into account the pattern of seasonal expenditures such as during festive
seasons, back to school and school holidays. Results from the survey will provide an important source of
information for national socio-economic planning. Apart from that, the results of this survey can also be
used by other users in the private sector, academia, researchers, students and the public for research
and other purposes.

Infindo Brunei’s first ICT business to garner funding:

       The Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) achieved a major milestone in its efforts to
champion small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country when its first venture capital fund
investment was made into one of the local companies and an iCentre incubatee, Infindo Technology.
Edmund Yong, Managing Partner of Accel-X and founder of Infindo, Nicky Wong signed an agreement
                                           th
and exchanged documents at the iCentre on 6 April.


TelBru doubles bandwidth:

                 Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru) has increased the peak bandwidth of its broadband
network to 5 mbps-double its current broadband speeds. TelBru has completed upgrading all its lines to
the next generation ADSL2+ technology last year and is now in a position to provide at least a double-fold
jump in its current broadband speeds. The upgrade will enable customers to enjoy Internet speeds that
are on par with the minimum offered by regional Internet service providers, as well as Web 2.0,video
streaming and other bandwidth-hungry Internet applications with greater ease. Users will now be able to
access content faster than ever before with the upgraded speeds. TelBru also announced that it is “well
on its way” in implementing fibre-to-the home (FTTH) in the near future and is aware of the inherent
quality of copper cables having its limitations in the delivery of bandwidth speed. Lim Ming Soon, General
Manager of TelBru‟s Product Development Marketing and Sales Division said that with the roll-out of the
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bandwidth increase timed concurrently with TelBru‟s 4 anniversary celebrations, the company, as a
leading internet service provider in the country, is committed to continuous innovation as well as
improving the quality and breadth of its service offerings as a key factor to maintain its leadership.

TelBru signs contract to boost BruNet’s core network infrastructure:

         In the presence of Telbru‟s Board of Directors‟ Chairman, senior officials of Telekom Brunei
Berhad (TelBru) and Advantel Communications Sdn Bhd signed papers on another multi-million contract
to revamp and improve BruNet‟s core network infrastructure. The signing was hailed as TelBru‟s effort to
promote faster Internet in Brunei through the development of a more efficient core Internet network. With
Asia-America Gateway (AAG) already in commission earlier this month, the eventual deployment of Fibre-
to-the Home (FTTH) will provide an integration of three key elements to facilitate superior Internet
connection for the Sultanate in the future. The project which will take approximately nine months to
complete, will involve the expansion, redesign and refinement of the BruNet infrastructure to prepare for
the anticipated growth in demand for Internet Service Provider (ISP) services in the near future.
         Besides complementing on the bandwidth upgrade earlier this month, this project would
undoubtedly provide an integration platform for broadband advancements in the country. With this BruNet
project, the network‟s infrastructure revamp will increase Burnei system‟s capabilities to control and
accommodate bandwidth-hungry requirements such as VoIP, YouTube, peer-to-peer networking and
improve users‟ web-surfing experiences through lower latency rates and shorter waiting times. After the
completion of this project, existing services such as an e-mail and web-hosting will be significantly
enhanced, while new value-added services such as user-based email security solutions, online storage
services and peering and transit services are in the pipeline. New critical security features would also be
embedded in the revamp which would be in accordance with international ISP standards. Advantel
Communciations Sdn Bhd is associating with overseas companies Hewlett-Packard (M) Sdn Bhd,
Xanadu Sdn Bhd and Applied Business System Sdn Bhd (ABS), who have a strong presence in the
region and will be leveraging on their strength, experience and specialties to implement the project.


   Six companies commit to participate in BRIDEX:



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Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010
        The Third Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition (BRIDEX) 2011 would be held
from July 6-9 next year at the BRIDEX International Defence Exhibition Hall in Jerudong. The third Brunei
Darussalam International Defence Exhibition (BRIDEX) has received letters of intent from six participants,
including five international companies during the Defence & Security Asia (DSA 2010) Defence Exhibition
in Kuala Lumpur. MFDM Group (Malaysia), United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI) Defence &
Security Organization, Poly Technologies (China), Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO
Pakistan), MKG Network Services Sdn Bhd (Malaysia) and LS & A (Brunei) are among the companies
that have committed to participate. Letters of intent to participate in BRIDEX 2011 were signed April 21 at
the Royal Brunei Technical Services (RBTS) booth at DSA 2010. The signing was witnessed by
Chairman of RBTS Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat and Chief Executive Colonel Pengiran Kamal
Bashah.


Brunei Mart:

         Brunei Mart has floated Brunei‟s first Business–to–Business (B2B), Business-to-Government
(B2G) and Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) online portal „Bruneimart.com‟ which is built and managed by
FDA Development Sdn Bhd and marketing by Rinsa Technology Services. Bruneimart.com, has more
potential business background and provides great trade beneficial service to both registered Buyers and
Sellers. Bruneimart.com offers Premium and Free Membership and after joining Bruneimart.com, one can
post their products and make it always available online. The portal is perfectly suitable for SME (Small
Medium Enterprises. The website can be visited by the interested parties.

AIS system to protect coastal areas:

         The coastal areas of Brunei Darussalam are now further protected safely and security following
the installation and full operation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) at Muara Signal Station in
Muara. The AIS is an equipment to give information and details of ships to other ships that enter and exit
form Brunei‟s coastal areas and it also helps authorities to automatically monitor and hunt for ships. The
specific information that AIS gives includes types and location of ships, direction, speed and all other
inputs related to safety and security. AIS is required to be installed on ships from 300 gross tonnages
and above engaged in international voyages, cargo ships from 500 gross tonnages and above, not
engaged in the international voyages, and all sizes of passenger ships. This is in line with the Marine
Department‟s mission to enhance and upgrade maritime security and safety, protect maritime
environment pollution and to facilitate the development of the maritime industry.

Brunei Shell awards $222m rig deal to India firm:


        BRUNEI Shell Petroleum (BSP) has awarded a US$159 million ($222 million) deal to Indian
offshore drilling and oil field services provider Aban Offshore Ltd to deploy a jack-up drilling rig. It is
reported that the contract involves the deployment of Aban's "Deep Driller 8" jack-up rig. The contract is
for a firm period of four years and an optional four one-year periods each. According to its website, Aban
offers drilling and oil field services for offshore exploration and production of hydrocarbons to the oil
industry in India and around the globe. Aban was established in 1986. It launched its first contract drilling
service for the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd in 1987 with two modern jack-up drilling rigs. Aban's
list of customers include Cairn Energy

Brunei to sell excess capacity:

        His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the
                                       th
Prime Minister‟s Office launched on 14 April Brunei‟s segment of the new Asia-America Gateway (AAG)
submarine cable, signifying the readiness to carry commercial traffic from Brunei Darussalam. The
Minister of Communications said that the submarine cable system was an effort towards infrastructure
and to protect the country‟s interest in communications with the outside world. The submarine cable
system is to provide 1.92 Terabits per second data bandwidth that could meet the demand of Internet
services, especially video and other multimedia, which are increasing nowadays. The AAG submarine
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Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010
cable system would ensure that all commercial activities in the country continue to run, besides being
able to increase communications and bandwidth to develop the local ICT industry, become Brunei‟s
attraction and increase investors‟ confidence.
          The Minister further informed that 20,000-kilometer cable is the first high bandwidth optic fibre
submarine cable that links Southeast Asia to the United States directly through the Pacific Ocean. The
cable system links 10 locations in eight countries – Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei
Darussalam, Hong Kong and the Philippines – to the US via Guam, Hawaii and California (San Luis
Obispo). Brunei Darussalam is one of the countries from the branch landing party for AAG with total
investment of US$ 40 million whereby US$ 30 million comes from His Majesty‟s Government through
Brooketon Sdn Bhd and TelBru and DST Group have invested US$ 5 million each.
           At present, Brunei is connected to the outside world through the South East Asia Middle East-
Western Europe 3 (SEA-ME-WE 3) submarine cable. Elaborating on the signing of the transfer of rights
document, the Minister said BIG Sdn Bhd would spearhead the project for Brunei and will be responsible
in managing the cable service, offer and sell the capacity to the local and international
telecommunications operators. The establishment of BIG Sdn Bhd is also another important achievement
in the info-com industry to support the public-private partnership concept. BIG Sdn Bhd has been evolved
from a joint venture agreement among the shareholders of BIG Sdn Bhd, which was signed on July 13,
2009 and registered on August 17, 2009. The Minister further said that the challenge facing Brunei was
not only to meet the public demand and hope and the ever-evolving industry, but also to put Brunei in a
strategic spot to grab new opportunities in this digital era that covers development and communications
infrastructure upgrade. BIG Sdn Bhd would be focusing its activity not only on bandwidth trading but also
investment in communications infrastructure, which was strategic in nature such as fibre thread to homes
and satellite communications to uphold efforts in ensuring continuous, safe and efficient communication.

High Hopes on Lukut 1:

         A new chapter has been “drilled” into the long and illustrious history of Brunei‟s oil and gas
industry as Brunei Darussalam kick-started its first onshore drilling in 24 years in a renewed search for oil
inland following the blessing ceremony for the spudding of Lukut 1, the first exploration well to be drilled
under Brunei National Petroleum company (PetroleumBRUNEI) Block L. It is being drilled to test the
hydrocarbon potential of the area and is anticipated to reach a depth of over 2,150 meters. Drilling is
expected to take approximately 30days to complete after which drilling to explore the second well
Lempuyang I, will begin. PetroleumBRUNEI manages and regulates Block L, which covers an area of
2,253 sq.km in the Brunei-Muara District and parts of Tutong as well as Temburong District. Brunei is
actively promoting oil and gas activities both in onshore and offshore areas in order to increase its
existing oil and gas reserves. The success of Lukut 1 will contribute to this objective.

New Agro Tech Park to Reinforce Brunei Halal Brand:

        Mr. Wahid Kandil, new Chief Executive Officer of M/s Ghanim International Food Corporation Sdn
Bhd informed the press that Brunei Darussalam‟s first Agro Technical Park, to be completed in 2012, is
expected to lead the way in the country‟s research and technology industry. The Park, which will mainly
house a Halal Science Centre to benefit Brunei‟s Halal Brand products, will play a fundamental role in
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research and development. Official announcement is expected to be made during the 5 Brunei Halal
Expo to be held in June 2010. The Park will offer to Brunei the ability to do a lot of research and
development and allow it to continuously come up with new products for the brand. The Brunei Agro-
Technology Park, a major 263 hectare site developed close to the Capital, is expected to create an
estimated 8000 jobs. Mr. Kandil further revealed that the Company will open global offices as the brand
secures its global footing. Brunei is currently classified as having the higher standards of Halal
accreditation across the globe

NITE MEETS MIPR OFFICIALS ON MICROBIAL FINDINGS:

          The National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE) held talks with senior officials from
the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) as part of a point-research project to find new
microbial species in Brunei Darussalam. Minister of MIPR chaired the meeting, who was joined by senior
officials from University of Brunei Darussalam and the Forestry Department, to provide feedback and
report on the progress and development of the joint-project since the signing of the Project Agreement
back in December 2009.

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Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010
           Collection, treatment and sampling of microbes by researchers from both NITE and Brunei were
also done in December. The officials also discussed the capacity building where Pehin Dato Hj Yahya
will visit NITE‟s headquarters in Japan to take a closer look at the activities and programmes of microbial
research. An agreement was signed on July 10, 2008 between both parties under the Heart of Borneo
(HoB) project that aims to implement the joint-research project for scientific studies and capacity building
in the area of micro-organisms inhabiting the predetermined forest areas. Officials said the research
would mainly involve studying the taxonomic and ecological aspects of F-microbes in Brunei for
conservation and documentation, as well as the discovery of taxonomically new F-microbes to gain new
scientific knowledge and to contribute to microbial taxonomy by depositing such new discovered F-
microbes to the culture collections, and to be specified by mutual agreement.

 Coop to export lemon grass to Thailand:

       Agricultural entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Thailand visited Brunei (April 5) on a study tour to
farms and industries to explore cooperation in the sector of agriculture. The members of China Asean
Chamber of Agriculture Commerce (CACAC) in their countries were hosts of CACAC in Brunei. The
entrepreneurs visited the lemon grass farm run by Koperasi Perusahaan dan Perniagaan Gagasan
Badan Ekonomi Melayu (KOGABEM) Berhad in Kg. Kuala Lurah. They were received by Chairman,
Pg. Shahmninan bin Pg Hj Ismail who briefed them on the lemon grass farm run by a member and told
them that the cooperative had lemon grass farms in eight zones throughout Brunei. The Lemon grass
would be exported mainly to foreign countries such as Thailand. He further added that his cooperative
would welcome enquires on the product from interested parties from overseas

RBTS Malaysia Groups sign deals on tech transfer:

         Royal Brunei Technical Services (RBTS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with three
Malaysian organizations – MTUServices Malaysia (MSM), Central Management Catalogue Agency
(CMCA) and Motor Teknologi & Industri (MTI) – to develop technical and mechanical and mechanical
capabilities in Brunei. The MoU is for the maintenance and overhaul of MTU engines and equipment
implementation of codification of items and asset management applications and to carry out asset life-
extension programme via remanufacturing and precision machining projects. RBTS is expected to
benefit from this signing with the transfer of knowledge by exposing and training RBTS staff either in
Brunei Darussalam or in Malaysia. It would also supply documentation and manuals, which can be used
for training and reference. There are also possibilities of investment on facilities and technology to
develop the capabilities in Brunei Darussalam.

Japan top drug firm eyes Brunei microbial wealth:

         Brunei‟s rich microbial diversity has attracted Japan‟s top biopharmaceutical company – Chugai
Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd – which is now considering collaborating with the Sultanate in creating new drugs
from natural resources. Y. Yamaguchi, representative of Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. said this at the
progress report meeting of the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (Nite) and the Ministry of
Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) on joint research projects on taxonomic and ecological studies of
forest micro-organism in Brunei on April 19. Chugai Pharmaceutical is Japan‟s number one
biopharmaceutical company and a global diversifying drug discovery research body which deals with
biotechnology to create new drugs from natural products derived from microbial resources.
         On the Nite-MIPR research project, Yasuhisa Tsurumi, Manager for the Resource Development
Division of the Nite Biotechnology Development Centre (NBDC) informed that a total of 1091 fungi were
isolated in the joint project and selected 422 isolates were preserved at Nite and Forestry Department.
Out of this 231 strains were classified into 66 genera. Some 191 strains have yet to be identified. Brunei
has a high diversity of fungi and some strains are candidates for new species. This research should
continue. Many natural products have been discovered from natural resources such as plants, insects,
reptiles, algae, marine organisms, fungi and actinomycetes added Yamaguchi. Microorganisms are used
for drug discovery because they have a good re-productivity and can be cultured on a large scale.
         The drug development process needs 10 to 17 years and millions to billions of dollars. The
success rate is much lower. Developing a drug is very tough but natural products are worth using for
practical purposes. There are many benefits from natural products derived from microbial resource such
as biological crop protection, amino acid fermentation and pharmaceutical products.


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Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010

Tajikistan Invites Brunei to Bid for Mineral Exploration:

         The Tajikistan delegation led by Mr. Bek Zukhorov, Deputy Minister of Transport and
Communications, accompanied with several senior officers from the Tajikistan Government, banking
industry and the telecommunication companies, visited the premises of the Authority for Info-
Communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) to study the communications and e-
government initiatives. The delegation was received by the Deputy Minister at the Prime Ministers‟ Office,
who is also the Chairman of E-Government Leadership Forum, Dato Seri Paduka Hj Eussoff Agaki bibn
GHaji Ismail as well as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications, who is also the
Chairman of AITI and other senior officials in the Brunei Government. The delegates were briefed on the
current status of the ICT and telecommunication industry by AITI followed by the E-Government
experience by the Acting Director of E-Government National Centre (EGNC), Dyg Hjh Mariah bte Hj
Taha.
         During the course of his visit to Brunei Darussalam, Mr. Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan
offered and proposed to His Majesty the Sultan to take part in the international bidding or tendering in
mineral, sliver, gold explorations – Tajikistan vast resources, as they are in the process of announcing
international bidding and competition of foreign companies for the rights to explore the biggest silver
deposits in the world in the north of Tajikistan which has a reserve capacity of 55,000 tonnes of silver.
This was said by the President during the meeting with Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) Chairman of the
Board of Directors who is also the Minister of Communications and Managing Director of BIA, Dr. Hj.
Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah. Tajikistan also submitted a package of investment projects for Brunei parties
to participate, totaling 400 projects covering light industry sectors, mining, hydropower, tourism, ICT,
education, health, transport and communications, tourism and many others. Meanwhile, the Chairman of
Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), Timothy Ong welcomed Tajikistan companies interested in
oil investment and exploration and told them to talk to Petroleum Brunei. He also welcomed them to
develop housing projects in the country. He also highlighted on Brunei‟s ranking in the UN Human
                                                      th                                       st
Development Index 2009 where Brunei ranked 30 in the world out of 182 countries but 1 in Islamic
         nd                  th
world, 2 in Asean and 4 in Asia as well as in terms of economic stability in global competitiveness
report of World Economic Forum 2008-09 whereby in Islamic nations, out of 133 countries, Brunei ranked
  st                      nd               rd
1 followed by Algeria 2 and Kuwait 3 . Timothy Ong added that Brunei‟s ambition is to be among the
top 10 nations in the world recognized for its quality of life and dynamic and stable economy.

East Asia to open economic surveillance unit in May 2011:

         China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 Southeast Asian states will launch an independent
surveillance unit next year to monitor their economies for signs of financial stress. The launch of the unit
is a crucial step in the implementation of a US$ 120 billion currency swap arrangement among the 13
countries, seen by analysts as a possible precursor to an Asian Monetary Fund. Last month, Asean plus
China, Japan and South Korea launched the currency swap agreement called the Chiang Mai Initiative
Multilateral Agreement or CMIM giving them a safety net against future liquidity shortages. After meeting
with the central bank deputies and finance ministers of the ASEAN, Vietnam‟s Finance Ministry informed
in a statement that the surveillance office, named as the Asean Plus Three Macroeconomic Research
Office or AMRO, would be launched in May 2011 which monitor economic developments in the region
with a view to detecting potential risks and vulnerabilities.
         The deputies from the 10 Asean member countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea
agreed on al number of issues related to the organization structure, personnel appointment and the legal
form of AMRO. These issues would serve as an important basis for countries to build and improve the
structure of AMRO in preparation for its official operation. The CMIM agreement came into effect last
month as a measure to cope with difficulties in foreign currency liquidity and enhance the stability of
regional financial market.

 ADB sees ‘robust recovery’ for Asia:

       The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has stated in its report that developing Asia‟s economies
were on track for a “robust recovery: with India and China working as the engines of growth. However, it
warned that the region could still be at risk if stimulus measures introduced to counter the global downturn
re removed too soon or if the world economy suffered any further jolts. The Bank said that developing
Asia would grow 7.5 per cent this year –outpacing the 5.2 per cent seen in 2009 –although this would

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Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010
slow slightly to 7.3 percent in 2011. The forecast is still below the region‟s record 9.6 per cent expansion
seen in 2007. ADB‟s Chief Economist Lee Jong-What said that developing Asia‟s recovery had taken firm
hold and a return to stronger and sustainable growth was now in sight if the region could meet the
challenge of strengthening domestic demand? The region could look ahead to a robust recovery in the
next two years. Fiscal stimulus measures designed to counter the global financial meltdown will likely to
continue to lure foreign investment, while rising incomes and lower unemployment should get consumers
spending more.
          Lee told that appreciation of the Chinese Yuan could support the stability of the region‟s economy
and curb inflationary pressure. May be this is the right time to increase the exchange rate (of the Yuan).
Increasing the exchange rate flexibility will not only help China but also the region as a whole. The Bank
was also concerned that the region‟s early recovery was “already attracting potentially volatile capital
flows, complicating macroeconomic management and the bank was concerned that the increase in asset
prices in Hong Kong and China would spread to other countries in the region and that would be very
risky. Rising food prices, which disproportionately affect the poor, also pose a risk. The report warned that
government policy makers must steer their countries through an uncertain environment with a “timely
return to sound and responsible fiscal and monetary policies.
          East Asia –including Hong Kong, China Korea and Taiwan – is forecast to lead the region with an
8.3 per cent rise in gross domestic product in 2010, up from 5.9 per cent in 2009. Southwest Asian
economies will grow 5.1 per cent this year from 1.2 per cent in 2009, as countries including Thailand,
Cambodia and Malaysia see an upswing in exports. India will lead South Asia’s 7.4 per cent GDP
increase this year which is up from a 6.5 per cent rise in 2009. Central Asia-including Kazakhstan
and Georgia will see 4.7 per cent economic growth compared with 2.7 per cent last year. Pacific island
nations, including Fiji and Papua New Guinea, are expected to see their economies expand 3.7 per cent
in 2010, outpacing a 2.3 per cent rise last year. The Manila based lender‟s annual report looks at 44
jurisdictions stretching from the former Soviet States of Central Asia to some Pacific islands, but excludes
developed countries such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Asean economic integration set to advance this year:


     ASEAN economic integration is set to advance this year with the coming into force of two key
agreements liberalizing movement of trade and investment in the region. The Asean Trade in Goods
Agreement (ATIGA) will be implemented next month and the Asean Comprehensive Investment
Agreement (ACIA), by October. The just-concluded 16th Asean Summit has accelerated the momentum
for the 10-nation regional grouping to turn its vision of becoming an Asean Community by 2015 into
reality.   Leaders attending the two-day summit took note of the progress and shortcomings in
implementing the roadmaps in their own countries. The roadmaps adopted during previous summits
outline the plans of action in building the Asean Community premised on three pillars of cooperation
Asean Political-Security Community, Asean Economic Community and Asean Socio-Cultural Community.
One significant outcome of the summit was the setting up of the Asean Commission on the Promotion
and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children. The commission, among others, aimed to ensure
justice and fairness for the two groups which represent about 50 per cent of the Asean population of 550
million people. Two statements by the Asean leaders, on sustained recovery and development and joint
response to climate change, were issued during this summit. With the conclusion of the 16th Asean
Summit, Asean needs to walk the talk in promising a better future for its community in Brunei, Indonesia,
Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

Asean Infrastructure Fund to be set up through ADB:

   ASEAN Finance Ministers who met in Nhatrang, Vietnam last week, discussed the establishment of
the Asean Infrastructure Fund through the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB). Malaysian
Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the fund, would focus on financing infrastructural

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Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010
development in member countries. He said, if implemented quickly, the fund would benefit Asean
members by providing opportunities for entrepreneurs involved in infrastructure development, apart from
investors who can secure bonds provided by the ADB. He further said that they discussed integrating the
financial and capital sector for member countries, to see how the regional economy can be strengthened
by focusing on financing infrastructural development via the establishment of the Asean Infrastructure
Fund through the ADB. He stated the meeting in Vietnam also discussed how to increase capacity
among all countries involved in implementing the Asean Economic Community in 2015 because Asean,
which now has a 600 million population, will become the global centre for economic growth by then. A
comprehensive study was being undertaken to establish the Asean Graduate Business School in the
Iskandar Development Region, Johor which would be the first institution in Asean to undertake research
on strengthening trade within member countries.

Asean to boost use of local currencies in trade:

          Keeping in view the power shifting from the West to Asia in the aftermath of the recent financial
crisis, there are calls to reduce reliance on the greenback. Vietnam‟s Central Bank said that Southeast
Asean States were studying ways to boost the use of local currencies in intra-regional trade. Central bank
Chiefs from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) met in the Vietnamese city
of Jha Thang, ahead of their leaders‟ Annual Summit, and said that the initiative on promoting the use of
regional currencies in Asean internal commercial payment is part of monetary cooperation. Central Bank
Governors also ordered a study into the regional payment system for commercial trade. The use of local
currencies is part of steps being taken by Asean to deepen economic integration, which also includes
tearing down tariff and non-tariff trade barriers and building infrastructure links by land, sea and air.

BIMP-Eaga Business Council to aid SMEs in export marketing:

         The BIMP-Eaga Business Council (BEBC) would be promoting the private sector‟s initiative to
market their products outside the growth area, which covers provinces and states in Brunei, Indonesia,
Malaysia and the Philippines. The Council will extend marketing assistance through trade fairs, business
networking and road shows and through prominent online posting for greater market exposure. This
decision was taken during the special meeting of Senior Officials.
         BEBC Brunei would be building a website called Bimp-Eaga Market Guide.com which would
serve as a guide for businesses in the virtual world. Thomas Koh, Head of Transport, Infrastructure and
IcT Development (TIICTD) Cluster said that they will be meeting on April 14 to further discuss details of
the website. Assistance will come from German Technical Corporation (GTZ), which is responsible for
Bimp-Eaga‟s re-branding during the most recent Asean Tourism Forum held in Brunei. More infrastructure
readiness for businesses in the Bimp-Eaga were being implemented from land, sea, air-linkages and
cross border energy sharing were among the agenda highlighted during the meeting.
         Besides that, the niche market of Bimp-Eaga Halal Brand has become one of the top agenda,
especially due to the high value of Halal certifications in tandem with the world health requirements in the
poultry business. Brunei is making progress in developing a High Grade Halal Park to cater to
International Halal Export Standard which will further enhance upcoming developments of Brunei
International Airport.
         During the meeting, tourism was among the topics discussed. Participants talked about the influx
of tourists to Bimp-Eaga destinations. BEBC also attended the Bimp-Eaga Senior Officials Special
Meeting on March 15 . During the meeting, ADB (Asian Development Bank) agreed to extend technical
assistance to enhance the existing website of BEBC by linking to the existing Bimp-Eaga Facilitation
Centre (Bimp-FC) which has its head office in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The Monitoring Task Force
Committee was set up to monitor the progress of the Flagship Projects already in the Bimp-Eaga Road
Map 2006-2010.

IMF sees Brunei economy growing 0.5% this year :

        The IMF released its global outlook and projected the Brunei economy to grow by 0.5 per cent
this year and one per cent by 2011 as it raised global outlook amid signs the world economy is recovering
                                                     8
Economic and Commerce Report for the month April, 2010
more quickly from recession. IMF's forecast for Brunei though is slower than the 1.1 per cent growth
projected by the Asian Development Bank in the outlook it released last week. The bank saw the Brunei
economy expanding 1.5 per cent next year. In March, during a State Legislative Council session, Second
Minister of Finance Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Ibrahim said that
the Brunei economy would grow by 0.7 per cent to 2.3 per cent this year based on figures from the
Department      of   Economic     Planning      and    Development    at   the    Prime    Minister's   Office.
           It added that the Brunei dollar, which is linked to the Singaporean dollar, helped contain inflation
which moderated to 1.8 per cent in 2009, from 2.7 per cent in 2008, reflecting softer commodity prices
and subdued domestic demand. "Food, which accounts for 29 per cent of the consumer price basket, was
the main contributor, increasing by 2.3 per cent (down from five per cent in 2008), while transport costs,
which account for 23 per cent of the price basket, rose by 2.1 per cent (versus 1.6 per cent in 2008)," it
said.

Forthcoming Events in Brunei Darussalam:
                                           th          st
        Consumer Fair Part 6 Date: 29 July – 1 Aug 2010 to be held at International Convention
Centre will be organized by Sunlit Advertising Sdn Bhd, supported by Brunei Ministry of Industry and
Primary Resources. It has now become one of the significant events in Brunei Darussalam that it is held
twice a year. It provides a very wide range of variety to showcasing product. Consumer Fair is the best
expo that one is allowed to showcase whatever products one have. Their website: www.
bruneiconsumerfair.com can be visited for further information.

 Important Brunei Websites

    1.        Department of Economic Planning and Development, Prime Ministers office        -
              www.depb.gov.bn
    2.        Brunei Economic Development Board – www.bedb.com.bn Link for the presentation
              “Opportunities                  in                Brunei             Darussalam:
              http://www.bedb.com.bn/downloads/opportunities_in_Brunei_Darussalam.pdf.
    3.        Brunei Investment Agency – www.bia.com.bn
    4.        Ministry of Finance, Investment Division – www.investment@mof.gov.bn
    5.        The Gold Pages website: www.goldpages.com.bn
    6.        The Yellow Pages website: www.yp.com.bn

                                       Economic & Commercial Section

        Mukesh Randev, SS(C,I&L)
        Tel: +673-2344410 (Direct)
        Email: hoc.brunei@mea.gov.in
        Email: hicomind@brunet.bn
        Tel: +673-2339947     Fax: +673-2339783        Website: www.hcindiabrunei.org.bn

                                                      ………..




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