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NEWS UPDATES 30 July 2010

China aims for better Brunei ties

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China is hoping for a higher level of energy cooperation with Brunei in view of an unofficial US$1 billion bilateral trade target that was set by both countries at the beginning of the China-Asean Free Trade Area (Cafta) in January this year, according to the Brunei Times.

China Ambassador to Brunei Min Yongnian said that meeting the US$1 billion target seemed like a tough call despite the fact bilateral trade scaling new heights for the first four months.

"I think US$1 billion is still quite difficult (to hit)," said Min.

"There might be a chance if we establish an even stronger cooperation in the area of oil and energy."

Trade between Brunei and China hit a new high of US$365 million for the first four months of 2010, a growth of 517.4 percent from US$59 million in the same period last year. The trade volume between the two countries for all of 2009 was US$423 million.

China has always been importing more from Brunei than exporting, and the main bulk of Brunei's exports to China are oil and methanol.

There are also several other projects in a wide range of industries, like the building of the Telisai-Lumut link, housing projects in Bandar and an oil exploration project, but the figures dwarfed by trade in the energy sector.

"Brunei's strength is in energy, and I believe China has the right technology and technical knowhow to help Brunei develop further in this area," added Min.

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and according to Min, they are planning the celebrations with local authorities.

"This is a big year for us, and I hope we can come up with something that will be memorable for everyone," said the Chinese envoy who arrived in Brunei this May.

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