flag Brunei Darussalam Brunei Darussalam: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Brunei is highly dependent on exports (57,4% of GDP in 2020), and foreign trade represented over 110% of its GDP in 2020 (World Bank, 2022). The Sultanate's exports are dominated by the hydrocarbon sector, which benefits from a higher demand from New Zealand, South Korea and Australia. The same applies to the liquefied natural gas, which is exported especially to Japan (as a result of the problems related to the nuclear sector). The main products that Brunei imports are mineral fuels, food, vehicles, metals and machinery (Ministry of Finance and Economy, 2021).

Japan remains the main export partner of Brunei (22.4% of total exports in 2020), followed by China (17.3%), Singapore (15.9%), Australia (11.8%), Malaysia (6.8%) and India with 5.4% of total exports (OEC, 2022). The main suppliers are Singapore (17%), Malaysia (16.3%), China (10.9%) and Kazhakstan with 7% of total imports (OEC, 2022). Imports to Brunei reached 4.95 billion USD.

Brunei's trade balance shifted to a surplus of BND 311.1 million in November 2021 (229 million USD) from a gap of BND 172 million in the same month a year ago (126.6 million USD). This was the fifth straight month of surplus, on the back of a jump in exports as commodity prices rose further. Sales surged 144% yoy to BND 1,331.4 million, with shipments jumping for mineral fuels (166.4%), and chemicals (83.7%). The highest share of exports went to Australia, accounting for 22.9% of the total, Japan (21.3%), and Singapore (16.6%). Meanwhile, imports grew 42.2% yoy to BND 1,020.3 million, largely due to mineral fuels (126.9%). The highest share of imports came from Malaysia, representing 34.3% of the total, Russia (26.7%), and Japan (12.6%). Considering the first eleven months of the year, the trade surplus jumped 72.4% to BND 2.93 billion (2.15 billion USD) from BND 1.70 billion (1.25 million USD) in the same period of 2020, with exports rising 60.2% and imports growing 57.1% (Department of Economic Planning and Development, Brunei, 2022).

Brunei wishes to liberalise its trade further and has eliminated import duties on 99.6% of its tariff line with ASEAN (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia). However, the country does not have a regulatory control agency, a fact which hinders the drafting of formal trade policies. The country is also part of the regional grouping Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, which aims to increase the economic integration of these countries into a vibrant economy.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 3,0903,0854,1645,1035,342
Exports of Goods (million USD) 4,9605,5716,5747,0396,608
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,1831,2201,5461,7771,177
Exports of Services (million USD) 482533551599333
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 312814-2
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -2-33158
Trade Balance (million USD) 2,1532,4032,3652,211n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 878594109110
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3836425153
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5050525857

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
Japan 25.6%
Singapore 21.3%
China 17.7%
Malaysia 7.7%
India 5.3%
See More Countries 22.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
Malaysia 17.4%
Singapore 14.2%
China 10.8%
United Kingdom 8.3%
Australia 5.6%
See More Countries 43.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

6.6 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 36.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 23.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 19.3%
Cyclic hydrocarbonsCyclic hydrocarbons 13.8%
Acyclic alcohols and their halogenated,...Acyclic alcohols and their halogenated, sulphonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives 2.2%
See More Products 4.3%
5.3 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 27.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 7.3%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.2%
Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances for...Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, incl. pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves; parts thereof 3.5%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.9%
See More Products 53.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows

 

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), AFTA and the ASEAN - China Free Trade Area.

 

 

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country’s commercial policy
Barriers to exchanges
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
6.6%
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), AFTA and the ASEAN - China Free Trade Area.

 

 

Useful Resources
Royal Customs & Excise Department
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Brunei Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO)
 
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2022