United States and Brunei Darussalam Meet under Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
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 Enterprise for 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 United 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.
U.S. – 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.