Exporting to Brunei

Brunei is a politically stable, oil-rich country located in South-East Asia. In the year up to the end of June 2019, exports to Brunei from the UK totalled £97 million (ONS, 2019).

Economic diversification

Activity is strong in the oil and gas industry, and the country is encouraging economic diversification through major foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in other sectors. These include petrochemical refinery and industrial fertiliser plants (Borneo Bulletin/IMF, 2018.) This supports Vision 2035 - Brunei’s long-term sustainable development plan.

A strategic partner

Brunei is recognised for its political stability, and is located in the heart of South East Asia. It has good access to regional and global markets, and strong trade ties with the Middle East.

Close links with the UK

As a Commonwealth country, Brunei has close links with the UK. Many Bruneians have studied in the UK and have a taste for British goods, and there are many Bristish expats in the country. UK companies operating in Brunei include Shell, Standard Chartered and KPMG.

Ease of doing business

66th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Brunei dollar

Business languages

Malay, English

GDP per capita

$30,668

UK is $41,030 (IMF, 2019)

Economic growth

0.1%

(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT +8

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Brunei have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Brunei

Preparing to Export

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT in the UK, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Brunei, provided certain conditions are met.

There’s no VAT or any other consumption-based taxes in Brunei.

Regulations

Brunei is an Islamic country and prohibits the sale of alcohol and tobacco. All businesses including shops and restaurants shut between 12 pm and 2pm every Friday. The working week for the Brunei government is Monday to Thursday and Saturday, while in the private sector it’s Monday to Friday.

Withholding tax

Technical services, and scientific, technical, industrial or commercial knowledge or information, are subject to a 10% withholding tax.

Brunei does not levy withholding tax on dividends that have been assessed to tax, regardless of whether they’re paid to a resident or a non-resident.

Operating in Brunei

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

Intellectual property is protected through international registration systems for patents and designs through the World Intellectual Property Organization for Patent Cooperation Treaty system, Hague System and Madrid Protocol. Brunei has passed legislation on trade marks, industrial designs, copyright and patents, but there is room to strengthen their enforcement.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.