NEW Zealand is looking to step-up its engagement with Brunei as the Sultanate takes on its role as the ASEAN chair next year.
Deputy High Commissioner of New Zealand in Kuala Lumpur, Brian Smythe, said that the main objective prior to 2013 is to consult with Brunei on its important role as the ASEAN chair, as what happens in the Southeast Asian region has a critical impact towards other countries.
Smythe told The Brunei Times that the matter were part of the discussions that happened during the meeting of NZ's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng that took place last week.
"During the meeting they talked about all aspects of Brunei and NZ's bilateral relationship, and he (YB Pehin Dato Lim) also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with other NZ officials," Smythe said.
Smythe added that Brunei's continued interest in Christchurch and its re-building process is encouraged, and NZ is presenting Brunei with investment and re-building opportunities there.
When asked about the trade figures between both countries, Smythe agreed that it's not as high as it could be, but reminded that part of the trade goes through Singapore and doesn't appear on statistics.
"Of course we would like to increase trade, but the situation is better than it looks on paper," he explained.
NZ's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website stated that two-way trade between the two countries "is moderate", with trade totalling NZ$630 million ($640 million) for the year ending June 2010.
It showed that New Zealand's exports to Brunei were around NZ$3.61 million in the year ending December 2010 and its main exports continue to be dairy products, valued at about NZ$2 million and fish products, NZ$0.52 million.
On the other hand, the website stated that New Zealand's imports from Brunei are nearly exclusively crude oil, the volume of which fluctuates widely from year to year.
"Crude oil imports in the year ending December 2010 reached NZ$626 million compared to NZ$186 million in 2006. Non-petroleum imports to December 2010 amounted to NZ$114,000," the website stated. McCully, in a statement from New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that Brunei is one of its most valuable partners within ASEAN.
"Our bilateral relationship is built on close cooperation in many areas including trade, investment, education and defence, and we look to work closely with Brunei when it holds the ASEAN chairmanship," he said.
YB Pehin Dato Lim, who was formerly Brunei's non-resident High Commissioner to New Zealand, was also there in his capacity as the Chairman of the Brunei National Petroleum Company (PetroleumBRUNEI) and the Chairman of Royal Brunei Airlines.The Brunei Times
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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