Published : 2013-03-03 20:26
Updated : 2013-03-03 20:26
The Bruneian Embassy in Korea celebrated 29 years of the sultanate’s independence from British colonial rule by highlighting efforts to wean itself from dependence on oil export revenue, during a reception Thursday in Seoul.
The tiny Southeast Asian nation is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with annual per capita income exceeding $40,000 due to its huge oil and natural gas reserves. Some 90 percent of its gross domestic product comes from exporting oil and gas.
The sultanate is trying to change that by diversifying its sources of revenue.
“The government has drawn up diversification strategies and incentives to create a more attractive and favorable investment environment especially geared for foreign investors, in line with the personal invitation made by (Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah) who said, ‘We have always welcomed foreign investors,’” Bruneian Ambassador to Korea Dato Haji Harun Ismail said in welcome remarks during the reception, titled “My Country: Brunei Darussalam.”
Korea’s fossil-fuel-dependent economy is one of largest importers of natural gas and oil in the world. Bilateral trade between Brunei and Korea was about $2.2 billion in the first half of 2012, mostly in the form of Korea’s energy imports from Brunei.
Brunei joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations when it gained independence in 1984, becoming the now 10-member group’s sixth member state.
Brunei took over the presidency of the ASEAN Summit this year from Cambodia, and Korea is expected to participate in several related meetings as an important ASEAN partner nation.