The 18th CAEXPO this September will bring new opportunities for the all-round cooperation between China and Brunei Darussalam as the international economic and trade exhibition event continues to take the bilateral economic and trade development between the two countries to new heights. 

Over the past three decades, China and Brunei have seen improving relations and closer cooperation. In fact, the year 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Brunei as well as the establishment of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations.

Deepening cooperation over seventeen editions of CAEXPO

Brunei has participated in the CAEXPO for 17 years and throughout these editions of the CAEXPO, 248 exhibitors from Brunei have taken part, renting a total of 714 booths to exhibit a wide range of products and services. 

These include halal foods and beverages, handicrafts, electronic products, health care products, and port operations.

Through the sultanate’s participation in the CAEXPO, Chinese buyers are more informed on what Brunei has to offer, the sultanate’s highly popular halal foods in particular have attracted a great deal of interest and is gradually being accepted by Chinese consumers. 

At the 11th CAEXPO, Brunei and Guangxi, China formally signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor which has seen all-round cooperation between the two in the fields of agriculture, logistics, industry, halal food processing, medical care, biomedicine, tourism, etc. 

Even Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, acted as “City of Charm” of CAEXPO for 14 straight years, and has attracted the attention of many Chinese tourists, who list it as an important tourist destination.

Steady progress in economic and trade cooperation 

In recent years, China and Brunei has made steady progress in cooperation in major projects such as Hengyi Petrochemical and Guangxi-Brunei Economic Corridor.  

According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce of China, from January to June 2021, the volume of trade between China and Brunei from January to June this year was US$1.3 billion, a year-on-year increase of 42%.

Specifically, China’s exports to Brunei reached US$310 million, a year-on-year increase of 29%, China’s imports from Brunei were US$990 million, a year-on-year increase of 46.5%, Chinese companies’ direct investment in Brunei in non-financial sectors reached US$3.17 million and Brunei’s actual investment in China stood at US$5.37 million. 

The contracts signed by Chinese enterprises for engineering contracting projects in Brunei were worth US$20.34 million, a year-on-year increase of 33.8%. The turnover realized was US$20.44 million.

Upgraded cooperation at the new event

The CAEXPO is an important channel through whiich Brunei goods enter the Chinese market. 

The 18th CAEXPO will be held in Nanning, China on September 10-13. The theme of this year’s CAEXPO is “Sharing Opportunities Created by the New Land-Sea Trade Corridor, Building the China-ASEAN Community with a Shared Future.”

It will be hybrid event combining physical + online CAEXPO. It will take advantage of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations and China-ASEAN Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation to leverage its role as a platform and promote the building of a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. 

Companies from Brunei will participate in the physical and online CAEXPO to showcase halal foods and beverages, handicrafts, electronic products, textiles and clothing, tourism services, information technology, higher education, trade and investment services, and other featured commodities. 

Brunei will also host activities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Brunei at the 18th CAEXPO to upgrade bilateral cooperation. – Wardi Wasil 

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This article was first published on 4 September 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 157

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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