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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

The country wishes to liberalise its trade further and has announced that all tariff barriers with ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) would be removed. However, the country does not have a regulatory control agency, a fact which hinders the drafting of formal trade policies. The country is also part of the regional grouping Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, which aims to increase the economic integration of these countries into a vibrant economy. In 2015 trade represented 85% of Brunei's GDP.

Brunei has a positive trade balance. The Sultanate's exports are dominated by the hydrocarbon sector, which benefits from a higher demand from New Zealand, South Korea and Australia. The same applies to the liquefied natural gas, which is exported especially to Japan (as a result of the problems related to the nuclear sector). However, Brunei was severely affected by the decline in the prices of hydrocarbons in 2014. According to official data, foreign trade and the trade surplus declined considerably in 2015. The country is highly dependent on exports. It is also forbidden to export timber from Brunei.

Japan remains the main export partner of Brunei, followed by Malaysia, India and South Korea. The main products that Brunei imports are machinery, transport equipment, mineral fuels, motor vehicles and electric machinery coming from Malaysia, United States, United Kingdom, Singapore and China.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20112012201320142015
Imports of Goods (million USD) 3,6293,5723,6123,5992,585
Exports of Goods (million USD) 12,46513,00111,44710,5096,600
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,5412,2372,4231,8531,885
Exports of Services (million USD) 502483493557577
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 342115-31-12
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -31-61-11
Trade Balance (million USD) 8,6208,7666,9247,4432,910
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 1001061119985
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3035433133
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 7070686952

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - 2016.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2014
Japan 37.2%
South Korea 11.0%
India 9.1%
Australia 7.6%
Indonesia 6.1%
Thailand 5.2%
Malaysia 3.5%
New Zealand 3.5%
Singapore 3.3%
Italy 2.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2014
Malaysia 20.6%
Singapore 20.4%
China 9.9%
United States 9.0%
South Korea 8.7%
Thailand 4.5%
Germany 4.3%
Japan 4.0%
Indonesia 2.9%
United Kingdom 2.4%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 

Main Products

10.5 bn USD of products exported in 2014
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 50.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 41.7%
Provitamins and vitamins, natural or reproduced by synthesis, incl. natural concentrates, derivatives thereof used primarily as vitamins, and intermixtures of the foregoing, whether or not in any solvent 2.3%
Acyclic alcohols and their halogenated, sulphonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives 1.9%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 0.2%
Saturated acyclic monocarboxylic acids and their anhydrides, halides, peroxides and peroxyacids; their halogenated, sulphonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives 0.2%
Steam turbines and other vapour turbines; parts thereof 0.1%
Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8425 to 8430, n.e.s. 0.1%
3.6 bn USD of products imported in 2014
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 10.1%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 8.4%
Cruise ships, excursion boats, ferry-boats, cargo ships, barges and similar vessels for the transport of persons or goods 5.8%
Prepared binders for foundry moulds or cores; chemical products and preparations for the chemical or allied industries, incl. mixtures of natural products, n.e.s. 2.1%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 1.8%
Printed books, brochures and similar printed matter, whether or not in single sheets (excl. periodicals and publications which are essentially devoted to advertising) 1.8%
Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, incl. pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves; parts thereof 1.6%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.6%
Preparations of a kind used in animal feeding 1.6%
Rice 1.5%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), AFTA and the ASEAN - China Free Trade Area.

 

Useful Resources
Royal Customs & Excise Department
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Brunei Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO)
 
 
 

 

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Last Updates: June 2017