WITH the setting up of bilateral business councils between Brunei and Vietnam in last November, the newly-established Brunei-Vietnam Business Council, is optimistic for more progress in terms of opportunities in trade and commerce for both countries.
Under the umbrella of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Brunei Darussalam (NCCIBD), business council seeks to become the contact point for business activities between both countries.
The Brunei Times spoke to council Chairman Abd Halim Saim about the council's roles and plans for the near future.
What are the roles of the council?
Basically, we are the focal point for small-medium enterprises (SMEs) activities between both Brunei and Vietnam.
We are working under the NCCIBD and are handling the affairs relating to the bilateral business activities and potential opportunities. In the event that a Bruneian company is interested in conducting business in Vietnam, we can help with the enquires. In addition to that, we will try our best to assist SMEs from Vietnam by helping them connect with the local businesses and facilitate the business processes.
Are there any plans for the year 2013?
There are suggestions for a few business activities in April 2013, in which our Bruneian business delegates will participate in the Vietnam Expo 2013. Likewise, the Vietnamese business delegates will also be participating in our Brunei Halal Expo. This is in line with the objectives laid out in the Agreement of Cooperation which was signed on the November 28, 2012, to foster the development and diversification of economic cooperation and widening the commercial exchanges between companies and enterprises on a mutually advantageous basis.
We are also in the process of matching up some Vietnamese manufacturers to our Bruneian business people. This would involve exchanging available information pertaining to foreign trade, production and export opportunities of both countries businesses and exchange of trade delegations, to name a few.
In order to achieve business networking to a greater effect, we are also working closely with the Chairman of BIMP-EAGA Business Council. This will also help us a better picture of what happens on a regional level and how it would affect the bilateral business relationship that has been established through the agreement.
What opportunities do you see with the signing of the agreement?
There has been interest shown from some Bruneian businessman who are looking for investment opportunities in the food processing sector. Some have also voiced out interest for plantation and agriculture. Likewise, the Vietnamese have also expressed interest investing in Brunei, but these are in preliminary discussions.
We are currently also working on a data system. The main purpose of such a system is to collect information and compile it into a database. This database is then used by the businessmen from both countries who can look up to see background information about each other in the economic aspects.
The database will also allow businessmen to ask the council their questions. This is an important project for a few reasons. Firstly, both business councils can use this as an avenue for exchange of information about the laws and regulations that are in place from their respective countries.
Secondly, any of the businessmen are in doubt about the authenticity of a particular company, they can confirm it with the councils who are tasked to help them out with this process.
On top of that, you can see now that more bilateral visits will be made and that there will be more programmes all of which are part of the objective to increase mutual awareness about both countries and the business opportunities. I think that a level of interest in investment has also been generated with the large projects that are happening in the country, which require cooperation. This also opens doors for more opportunities.
What types of challenges do you think you will face?
I think there are some minor challenges that we will face but as long we are able to maintain the close business relationship between both parties, we should be able to overcome those challenges. And also with the ongoing support from both governments, it means that those challenges can be solved by working together.
We will also be visiting Vietnam in March and this will definitely be an opportunity for us to share and explain on what business opportunities there are in Brunei.
The Brunei Times
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