China Expo To Raise Profile As Brunei Gateway

Bandar Seri Begawan – The lack of publicity and understanding of
CAEXPO led to a smaller than usual Brunei participation in this year’s
5th China ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) held in late October.

However Nong Rong, Vice Secretary General and Vice Director General
of China Asean Expo Secretariat, has promised that things are about to
change as CAEXPO is looking to increase its efforts to “bridge”
Brunei’s entrepreneurs with Chinese businessmen.

Speaking to Borneo Bulletin in an exclusive interview during a
two-day visit to Brunei Darussalam to promote CAEXPO, Nong Rong said,
“We want to make use of China Asean Expo (CAEXPO) as a gateway to widen
Brunei and China’s bilateral relationship. As China continues to grow,
it is now the best opportunity for Asean countries, including Brunei
Darussalam, to link business ties with China.”

“We want to bring in Asean countries’ products to China and we also
want to see investors and businessmen coming to China to purchase some
products as well as to invest. We also want to transfer technologies
and know-how from China to Brunei. In addition, we also want to promote
tourism between both countries. Through some of the cooperation and
services, our ChinaAsean Expo can help to build up Brunei businesses.”

He said, “We visited the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources,
and the officials also shared the same sentiment that CAEXPO is also a
important platform to promote Brunei businesses.”

However, he said “Currently the much-anticipated result has yet to
be realised. This is mainly because we lack the promotion. I feel that
many businesses in Brunei and also Asean countries, don’t know about
CAEXPO or they don’t know the advantage of participating in CAEXPO.
Also they may not know that it’s actually very easy and convenient to
take part in the CAEXPO.”

To facilitate Brunei’s participation, he said, “We have organised a
direct chartered return flight from Brunei to China’s Nanning where the
expo is held. We can also organise business matchmaking for Brunei
entrepreneurs with interested Chinese companies. In terms of
investment, we can also look for interested partners in China to
cooperate with Brunei companies. I feel that may be not a lot of people
who know that these services exist. Maybe there are a lot of people who
want to do business in China but they don’t know that CAEXPO can help

“Next year’s 6th CAEXPO from October 20-24 will be a grander event,
especially when the China Asean Free Trade Agreement comes into force
on January 1, 2010. China has signed three agreements with Asean member
countries on merchandise trade, services and investment. These three
agreements are to better facilitate trade in the three areas between
China and Asean. By January 1, 2010, 90 per cent of merchandise between
Asean and China will be tariff free. If a Brunei company is to export
its famous prawn crackers to China, there will not be any tariff. So
with the enforced CAFTA, there are even greater reasons and
opportunities to do business with China’s companies,” he said.

He hoped that “through the media, as well as the cooperation with
Brunei’s government and business associations, we will increase our
publicity continuously to increase the understanding of CAEXPO to push
for more Brunei participation”.

Nong Rong also disclosed that they will also send a delegation to Brunei’s halal expo next year to promote the CAEXPO.

He also welcomed Brunei’s move to open a consulate in Nanning to
facilitate travel for Chinese tourists to Brunei. Currently, there are
five Asean countries which have a consulate in Nanning, China.

Accompanying Nong Rong were Su Kewu, Vice Division Director of China
Asean Expo Secretariat, Zhan Weiping, Project Official and Xu Ruoshi,
Vice Division Director in Liaison Division.– Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin