Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines recently signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to income tax recently, a move that will enhance the economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.
The signing took place at The Empire Brunei and saw the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah signing on behalf of the Bruneian government and Secretary of Finance of the Philippines, Carlos G. Dominguez III who was signing on behalf of the archipelagic country.
In his speech, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew highlighted how the Brunei – Philippines Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) shows the commitment between both countries in establishing a conducive and attractive environment to do business in each other’s country by providing “greater tax certainty, clarifying taxing rights and eliminating double taxation”.
“It will facilitate the Government of Brunei Darussalam and Government of the Philippines in exchanging information, and ensuring greater transparency on tax matters to be in line with developed global standards. In all, this agreement is indeed a significant step forward in our bilateral ties,” he added.
Speaking on Brunei-Philippines’ bilateral economic cooperation, he noted an MOU that was signed in 2017 during His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s state visit to the Philippines.
The MOU was to explore opportunities in the emerging global market for halal products and services while facilitating halal export development and promotion programs between both sides.
“I am also encouraged that our trade figures showed an upward trend over the year whereby in 2020, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, recorded an increase of 18% from the previous year,” he continued.
“Brunei Darussalam has accelerated efforts to develop its non-oil and gas sector by encouraging participants from more FDI and local entrepreneurs,” he added.
“For FDI, we are looking at 5 clusters – food, ICT, tourism, services and downstream industries, and I certainly welcome investors from the Philippines to explore these business prospects,” continued YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew.
In his part, Secretary of Finance of the Philippines, Carlos G. Dominguez III said that the DTA will further ease trade in goods and services which will, in turn, strengthen economic cooperation and enhance investment flows as well as economic activities between the two countries.
“Rest assured that we will work to continue and deepen the coordination between our respective tax authorities in ensuring the proper implementation of the agreement and the enforcement of the relevant tax laws,” he said.
“I look forward to the heightened operation between our two countries, as we both exert all our efforts to recover from the pandemic and to rebuild the best possible future for our two nations,” he added.
To date, Brunei Darussalam has signed 20 Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (ADTAs) namely with the United Kingdom, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Oman, Bahrain, Japan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Laos, Hong Kong, Kingdom of Kuwait, Tajikistan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Luxembourg, Cambodia and the Philippines.
Apart from these ADTAs, Brunei Darussalam has also signed 11 Exchange of Information Agreement with Australia, Canada, France, Denmark, Faroes, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and India.
Brunei Darussalam has also signed Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAC) which allows Brunei Darussalam to exchange information on tax matters with its signatory countries.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN