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TO PROMOTE transparency in terms of tax information between Brunei Darussalam and Australia, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday signed an agreement on an exchange of information regarding taxes, at its premises.


The agreement was signed by Dato Paduka Haji Hisham bin Hj Mohd Hanifah, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, while Todd Norman Mercer, the High Commissioner of Australia to Brunei Darussalam inked the agreement on behalf of Australia.

Brunei Darussalam has signed 26 international agreements over the exchange of information and this agreement will facilitate the Australian Government to exchange information on taxation issues. It also reflects the commitment of the Sultanate towards implementing internationally agreed and accepted tax information to a standard that has been set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Todd Norman Mercer in an interview following the signing of the agreement said, “The signing is aimed at promoting transparency on tax information. Therefore, in signing the agreement, both sides agree to share information at this request in regard of its citizens, especially addressing any concern that might arise on tax evasion. Although currently, we don’t have any particular concern on tax evasion.

“It’s an important agreement which we currently have with more than 30 countries. The agreement is also in line with our commitment, for both Brunei and Australia toward the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.”

The High Commissioner of Australia also described the trade relations between Brunei and Australia as very positive where both countries are similar as they are small economies.

He added, “Brunei and Australia have a very strong bilateral economic relationship. In terms of trade, we import oil from Brunei, while Australia has exported many consumer goods and agricultural items into Brunei. I suspect that the trade statistics don’t reflect the full volume of trade coming into Brunei because I felt that some of the imports come via other countries in the region, which doesn’t necessarily show up in the statistics.”

He concluded, “We work in cooperation with Brunei whereby we have one Free Trade Agreement between Asean, Australia and New Zealand in which Brunei is the coordinator for Asean. This has been a positive experience. Currently, we are involved in two other free trade agreement negotiations with Brunei – the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. We hope that we can continue this positive relationship with Brunei and bring the two negotiations to a conclusion to build on regional economic architecture.”

Touching on the interest of Australian companies in Brunei’s future projects, Todd Norman Mercer highlighted, “I was impressed by the level of interest that Australian companies are showing in Brunei and there may be some development coming in the near future.”

- Courtesy by Borneo Bulletin, August 7, 2013, Wednesday.