– Increasing economic competition from India and China will deepen
and widen Asean’s economic integration envisioned in the Asean
Charter and the Asean Economic Community blueprint to be signed
tomorrow and Brunei Darussalam will have all to gain from such
Brunei’s commitment to the Asean
Charter will pave the way for it to tap into the benefits of
regional economic integration and boost its industries.
With a total GDP of $1.45 trillion,
Brunei will be able to leverage its trading position through its
membership in Asean to open up ties with new and important strategic
investment and trading partners and strengthen existing ones to
diversify its economy away from oil and gas.
This would mean local businesses
that are looking at investing overseas will gain more from the
protection afforded by the introduction of a new culture of
adherence to rules. All this would mean more investments, more jobs,
and more industries to tap into global market demands.
On the environmental front, the
Asean Charter’s focus on issues on the environment such as climate
change and environmental sustainability will also boost the
sultanate’s Heart of Borneo initiative and provide a boost to its
nascent green and eco-tourism industry.
With the Charter likely to toe the
line for much needed changes to some of Brunei Darussalam’s economic
policies in order to align itself to the rest of the region,
overseas investors looking to tap into the country’s industries will
also benefit from less bureaucratic and more transparent regulatory
framework within the country.
This would create a more level
playing field for investors and local partners alike, and would only
have positive benefits for Brunei’s economic diversification
process, promoting Brunei as an attractive investment destination.
Local businesses that are thinking
of venturing overseas will also be afforded protection by the legal
and regulatory frameworks put in place by the Charter.
The sultanate’s drive to push into
the halal market that is worth over US$600 billion, catering to 1.6
billion muslims worldwide, can also be leveraged through Asean’s
economic integration if the country can get its internal roadmap for
halal branding and promotion on track.
However Asean’s successful economic
integration hinges on all Asean members to step up to the plate to
be accountable to the Charter’s requirements.
As Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee
Hsien Loong said, “The Charter moves Asean towards a rules-based
organisation, coupled with transparent regulations, is critical in
enhancing Asean’s credibility and attracting investors. I am
confident that with the right attitude and political will, we (Asean)
will achieve this.”
To a large extent, the same would
be expected from Brunei’s own government agencies.
After the signing of the Charter,
the respective government agencies charged with aligning the
country’s policies with the Charter would need to step up to the
plate to ensure Brunei can truly gain from the signing of the Asean
Charter and reap the benefits of Asean’s economic integration.— Courtesy of
The Brunei Times