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BRUNEI yesterday signed an agreement with Canada to ease the process of exchanging information among businesses between the two countries, paving the way for bilateral trade cooperation and expansion of businesses in the countries.

The Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) will facilitate both governments to exchange information on taxation matters.

The official signing of the agreement held yesterday at the Ministry of Finance (MOF) reflected the Sultanate's commitment in the implementation of the internationally agreed and accepted tax information exchange standards set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD developed the agreement to address harmful tax practices.

Hjh Ning Lela Dato Paduka Hj Mohamad, the Permanent Secretary at the MOF said that the agreement would allow easier access to information between Brunei and Canada, and will open up opportunities for both countries in terms of trade.

 "It's also a good opportunity for Brunei to be exposed to countries such as Canada. This is something that we actually encourage, so we hope that it will lead to more opportunities for Brunei in terms of trade," the permanent secretary said yesterday.

Hjh Nigh Lela signed the agreement on behalf of the government of Brunei while the Canadian High Commissioner to Brunei Marcel Gaumond represented the government of Canada.

Speaking with the media, Gaumond said that TIEA is a very positive step in Canada's relationship with Brunei towards creating a better, more competitive business environment between the two nations, as it would encourage more Canadian companies into Brunei.

"This is a very small but very important step between Canada and Brunei.

"Brunei is really an ally in Southeast Asia for Canada, and we hope that all these small agreements will lead to a better and growing relationship between Canada and Brunei and the partners in the region," said the envoy, adding that Canadian firms have been focusing on exploring the markets of emerging economies in the Southeast Asian region over recent years.

The number of international agreements providing for exchange of information signed by Brunei has reached 24 with the signing of this agreement in Canada, according to a press release issued by the MOF.

Negotiations for a tax information exchange agreement with Brunei started on May 13, 2010, according to Canada's Department of Finance.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times, Friday, 10 May 2013