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Canada-Brunei Darussalam relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada established diplomatic relations with Brunei Darussalam in 1984, following Brunei's independence, and opened a High Commission in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan in 1995. Canada and Brunei share mutual interests in economic and education matters, as well as on multilateral cooperation such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Commonwealth and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

The most recent high-level visit took place in September 2023, when Dato Erywan Yusof, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Canada. The Sultan last travelled to Canada in 2000 and met with then-Governor General Clarkson and then-Prime Minister Chrétien.

In Brunei, the Canadian High Commission in Bandar Seri Begawan represents Canada. A High Commission in Ottawa represents Brunei in Canada.

Political and economic overview

Brunei is a sovereign state and absolute monarchy situated on the northwestern coast of the island of Borneo.

Of Brunei’s 442,000 residents, 66% of the population is Malay, 9% Chinese, and 3% indigenous. The remaining 22% is comprised primarily of foreign workers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. The national religion of Brunei is Islam, with 79% of the population identifying as Muslim (Sunni Islam), 8% Buddhist, and 9% Christian.

Oil and natural gas have made Brunei the second-richest country in ASEAN, after Singapore, measured by GDP per capita. Brunei also has the second highest Human Development Index ranking in Southeast Asia, after Singapore.

In education, 10 students from Bruneian universities have been awarded the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED) program for the 2023 to 2024 session. Last year, 9 were awarded the scholarships and have since returned to Brunei from Canada.

Trade relations

Canada's trade relationship with Brunei includes commerce across a number of sectors; most notable are oil and gas, education, and defence and security. Canadian firms are working in aerospace and simulation training, information and communication technologies (ICT) and in the halal industry.

In 2022, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Brunei amounted to $9 million. Canada’s exports to Brunei in 2022 totaled $8.4 million and imports from Brunei totaled $618,400. In 2022, the stock of Canada’s direct investment abroad in Brunei reached $8 million while the stock of direct investment from Brunei to Canada is not available for 2022.

Canadian companies will find a concentration of business opportunities in oil and gas related industries, education, Information and communications technology, defence and security, and the food industry. There have also been emerging niche opportunities in the health sciences industry. In July 2023, Brunei completed its ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

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Partnerships and organizations

To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Brunei Darussalam work closely in multilateral fora, such as:

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