Washington D.C. - U.S. officials met with their
counterparts from Brunei in Bandar Seri Begawan on May 7 under their Trade and
Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and agreed to examine jointly means for
deepening trade relations between the two countries and how the United States
could support Brunei’s efforts to diversify its economy.
The wide-ranging and constructive meeting was led by
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast
Asia and the Pacific Barbara Weisel and Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent
Secretary (International Trade Section) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Trade. The two sides discussed ways to improve market access and
facilitate trade, strengthen intellectual property rights protection and
enforcement, and address regulatory issues affecting bilateral trade between the
countries. The United
States and Brunei also discussed their common
objectives in APEC and under the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) TIFA. In addition, the two sides discussed opportunities for
cooperating to achieve a successful conclusion of the Doha Round negotiations in
the World Trade Organization.
The U.S. – Brunei TIFA was signed on December 16,
2002, in connection with a meeting between President Bush and Sultan Haji
Hassanal Bolkiah in Washington, D.C. The two leaders welcomed the
signing of a bilateral TIFA, which provides a foundation for increased trade and
economic cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and the United
States. The U.S. – Brunei TIFA was concluded as part of the
ASEAN Initiative (EAI), announced by President Bush on October 26, 2002.
The EAI is focused on strengthening already close U.S. ties with ASEAN countries and offers the
prospect of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) between the
States and ASEAN member countries that are
committed to economic reforms and openness, with a goal of creating a network of
bilateral FTAs in the region.
Brunei two-way goods trade totaled
around $600 million in 2006. Brunei is part of the ten-member ASEAN group,
which collectively is the fifth largest market for U.S.
exports. With continued strong economic growth anticipated in ASEAN
countries and a regional population of about 500 million, the United States
anticipates significant trade and investment opportunities for U.S. companies in
this region and has developed established a number of specific initiatives to
further this relationship.