Brunei Free Trade Agreements

Brunei Free Trade Agreements: An Overview

Brunei is a small but prosperous country located in Southeast Asia. Being a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and a signatory to various free trade agreements, Brunei is an attractive destination for international trade and investment.

Here are some of the free trade agreements that Brunei has signed and its impact on the country`s economy.

ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA)

Brunei is a founding member of ASEAN, a regional intergovernmental organization created in 1967 to promote economic cooperation, political security, and social progress among its members. In 1993, Brunei and other ASEAN member states decided to create a free trade area (FTA) known as the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

Under AFTA, Brunei and other members have significantly reduced their tariffs on goods traded within the region. This has boosted intra-regional trade and made ASEAN more competitive as a production base for multinational companies.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries, including Brunei, which was signed in 2015 but never ratified. The TPP aimed to remove tariffs, increase intellectual property protection, promote e-commerce, and set common labor and environmental standards.

If implemented, the TPP would have boosted Brunei`s exports to major markets such as the United States and Japan, especially in the energy and fisheries sectors. However, some Bruneians were concerned that the TPP would have given foreign companies too much power over local laws and regulations.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade agreement between the ten ASEAN member states and five of its partners, including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The RCEP was signed in November 2020 and is expected to enter into force in 2021.

As a member of the RCEP, Brunei will benefit from lower tariffs and improved market access for its goods and services in some of the world`s largest economies. Additionally, the RCEP will promote regional economic integration, enhance supply chain resilience, and facilitate digital trade and investment.


Brunei`s participation in various free trade agreements has helped to open up its economy to the world and attract foreign investment. By reducing trade barriers, Brunei has been able to expand its global market share and diversify its exports beyond oil and gas. However, Brunei needs to ensure that its domestic regulations and labor standards are not compromised by foreign trade agreements. Overall, the free trade agreements that Brunei has signed benefit both the country and its trading partners, as they lead to economic growth, job creation, and consumer welfare.