Brunei strengthens bilateral ties with Thailand

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The bilateral and multilateral ties between Brunei Darussalam and Thailand looks set to be further strengthened with the signing of four separate MoUs next year as Brunei assumes chairmanship of Asean in 2013, Borneo Bulletin reported.

The very significant Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) will be on cooperation for agriculture, labour, avoidance of double taxation and also anti-human trafficking.

The MoUs between Brunei Darussalam and Thailand were revealed by Mr Apichart Phetcharatana, Ambassador of Thailand to Brunei Darussalam yesterday in an interview at the Royal Thai Embassy.

He said, “Brunei Darussalam has assumed the chairmanship of Asean officially; Thailand’s minister and permanent secretary of Foreign Affairs has extended confidence in Brunei’s leadership for the Asean chairmanship next year.

“The year 2013 is also a very important year for Thailand since it has assumed the position of coordinator between Asean and China which means Thailand will be focal point for all Asean and China relations for the next three years. We will work very closely with Brunei on the issues concerning security economy and social issues.

“We will support Brunei as much as we can. A lot of important issues will be raised especially on maritime security in the region and the roles of dialogue partners in the region such as China, US, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, India and Korea.”

On the economic front, he said, “We are trying to promote more cooperation and push for private sectors to invest in Brunei especially in alternative renewable energy and Halal products.”

“Last May, the Minister of MIPR and delegation from Brunei spent five to six days in Thailand and met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Agriculture as well as the president of the industry association of Thailand and the business people with the main focus on Halal cooperation.

“With regards to agriculture, we would like to exchange more knowledge and technologies including land development, soil development, water management and fisheries and livestock.

“We are entering the last stage of the MoU on agriculture cooperation which may be signed as early as next year to boost cooperation for both the private and public sectors.”

Besides agriculture, the Thai ambassador said, “We are currently working on another agreement in terms of labour cooperation. The influx of Thai workers coming to Brunei has decreased as they venture to countries such as China, Taiwan and Europe. The Labour Attaché at the embassy is confident that Thai workers still have a good image among local employers.”

The MoU’s first purpose is on information sharing between Brunei and Thailand on future markets, building new infrastructure such as roads, bridges and housing scheme as well as construction of oil rigs.

“Secondly is to ensure that Thai workers are well protected according to the rules and regulation of Brunei,” the ambassador said.

The third MoU, he disclosed, is on anti-human trafficking, which is considered as part of the Asean Community. “We are also working on Avoidance of Double Taxation agreement and should this come to force, it would benefit investors from both sides.” In terms of education, the Thai ambassador highlighted that they are also promoting Brunei amongst Muslim students in the south.

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