Brunei: Corporate Investment
Foreign Investment Regime
Brunei welcomes foreign investment. Foreign investors are invited to actively participate in the current economic diversification programme of the country. The programme hinges on the development of the private sector. The Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources was formed in 1989 with the responsibility of promoting and facilitating industrial development in Brunei Darussalam.
Oil and gas production dominates the country's economy, and the government has has only limited success in diversifying the economy. Non-petroleum sectors include tourism, garment manufacture, agriculture, forestry, fishing, aquaculture, and banking.
Major industrial projects being fostered by the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) include a large methanol plant, an aluminium aluminum smelting plant and a large-scale container hub at Muara Port. In 2000, the government opened the International Financial Centre, which offers a tax-privileged regime for international companies. Islamic banking has been a particular success.
The rules governing foreign ownership of Bruneian assets are unclear. The government encourages the development of Brunei Malays in senior roles in industry and commerce, so that local participation in projects is likely to be viewed favourably.
Brunei Darussalam is flexible towards foreign equity requirements. 100% foreign equity can be considered for export-oriented industries with the exception of industries based on local resources, industries related to national food security and car dealership whereby some level of local participation is required.
Industrial activities are classified into four categories:
- Industries related to national food security
- Industries for local market
- Industries based on local resources
- Industries for export market
Industrial policies including manpower, ownership, government support and facilities remain open and flexible for all categories of industrial activities. Brunei Darussalam maintains a realistic approach where a variety of arrangements are feasible.
Only activities relating to national food security and those based on local resources require some level of local participation. Industries for the local market not related to national food security and industries for total export can be totally foreign owned. Overall, in Brunei Darussalam, any industrial enterprise will be considered.