BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei and Singapore will establish a joint working group to strengthen cooperation in the agrifood sector, it was announced Wednesday. 

A joint statement from Brunei’s Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) and Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said the early stages of the joint working group will focus on cooperation in the aquaculture industry.

The scope of the working group is to facilitate public and private cooperation in areas such as investment facilitation, research and development cooperation, quality assurance and capacity building.

Singapore’s Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean said the establishment of a joint working group was “an important turning point in the bilateral relations of Brunei and Singapore”, leveraging on the sultanate’s abundant natural resources and Singapore’s strong research ecosystem and technology.

“It will facilitate collaboration between the private sector in the field of agriculture to attract investment and create jobs, especially in the aquaculture industry,” the senior minister was quoted as saying in the statement.

Teo is currently leading a delegation of young Singapore political office holders for the 7th Young Leaders’ Programme (YLP), an annual exchange of visits between Brunei and Singapore.

The YLP is hosted this year by HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Bilah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, who welcomed the establishment of the joint working group, saying it would provide an opportunity for strengthening friendship and cooperation. 

The joint working group will be co-chaired by MPRT Permanent Secretary Pg Hj Kamalrudzaman Pg Hj Mohd Ishak and MTI’s Permanent Secretary Lee Chuan Teck. Both permanent secretaries will report on the group’s progress and recommendations to a panel of ministers from both countries.

The panel of ministers comprise Brunei’s Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong and Minister of Finance and Economy II YB Dato Seri Paduka Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah. For the Singapore side, the panel of ministers is amde up of Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat.