The total amount of Brunei investment from other ASEAN countries hit a new record of US$141 million in 2014, said Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, the country’s permanent secretary for trade last Wednesday.
According to Dato Lim, this number contributed to over a quarter of Brunei’s total FDI and was helped by the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA), which has boosted regional investment throughout all member nations of ASEAN.
“Ever since the Agreement entered into force in 2012, it has greatly enhanced the flow of foreign direct investments within and into ASEAN, partly through an increasingly positive investor sentiment,” said Dato Lim at an ACIA forum.
The US$141 million in 2014 was a sharp increase of over 20% from 2013, when ASEAN’s total Brunei investment was US$117 million, and beat early estimates that showed it would increase to US$136 million.
Brunei is certainly not alone. The region as a whole saw intra-ASEAN investment increase from $US19 billion in 2013 to US$23 billion in 2014, also a jump of just over 20%.
Dato Lim expressed his confidence that the ACIA, along with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), will help to further promote the Southeast Asia region as an important destination for investment. He added 2015 is an important year for ASEAN, as it works to formally implement the AEC in December.
The AEC, he explained, is characterized by four pillars: a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable development, along with one that is fully integrated into the global economy.
“Achieving free flow of investments within ASEAN has long been one of our objectives, and forms part of the first pillar of the AEC, the single market and production base,” said Dato Lim.
The AEC is planned to be similar to the European Union, but without some of what many consider to be flaws, such as a shared currency and central government. It will form a single economic union out of the ten member states of ASEAN: Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.