Bruneians set to gain from TPPA

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Brunei containersThe Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which Brunei Darussalam signed in 2005, has sparked new questions among a relatively small circle of Bruneians. The thought came as a general discussion on economic issues within the social media sphere.

The agreement piqued the group’s interest when it was found out that it is packaged in total secrecy, and was surrounded by a storm of anti-globalisation protests across the Internet. It caught on a feverish pitch following the document’s leakage via wikileaks.com.

The document purportedly calls for an aggressive stance in market liberalisation and intellectual property rights protection on member states, including Brunei, that – if enacted – would ‘give private entities the legal power to bring a nation into compliance’.

Some jokingly suggested it to be the “one per cent’s wish list” because of heavy involvement of multinational companies. These companies include the likes of Tesco, Pfizer and Halliburton, the latter being one of biggest profiteers of the Iraq War.

So with the public out of the dark, and members of global private entities having access to matters, is it any wonder the controversy prevails?

But with Brunei Darussalam already in the pact, we Bruneians, from this writer’s humble opinion, can only adopt the military motto of “To be foretold is to be forearmed”. Because in fact, the TPPA is nothing more than the “next step” for economic growth. One which represents massive opportunities for jobs, trade and investment for Bruneians.

With greater market liberalisation – the strategic goal of the agreement -, Bruneians could encounter massive global job opportunities, access to education abroad and experience. This could then be cross-transferred towards nation building.

Imagine our youths working at world class institutions such as Goldman Sachs or the US Federal Reserve, attending Harvard Business School or even join MTV and having their expertise utilised in building the nation’s financial, real estate, monetary, media and educational sectors.

International demand through this agreement could boost trading opportunities and competition, which would force nations to innovate their way out of bureaucracy and inefficiencies. Entrepreneurs could reach higher revenues and consumers a better choice of services and products.

Brunei’s chance to meet these challenges lie on the nations’ goals placed on the industrial zone development of Pulau Muara Besar. Brunei has an ancient deep-rooted history as a regional trading hub since the reign of Sultan Bolkiah V, and this positioning still exists. With increased global trade, why doesn’t Brunei make a “dent” in the Southeast Asian region, which accounts for 600 million people?

Other opportunities are investments. The opening up of the “bottom billion” market could call for a boom in regional infrastructure, educational facilities, production facilities, and – coupled with worldwide stock trade – could allow many locals, if they are prudent, gain access to higher than average returns on their original investments.

A weird thought: Would it be a good idea if more Bruneians tie up and form an “investment trust”, akin to that of the Brunei Investment Authority, and invest in properties abroad, merge or acquire public listed companies, secure or sell different asset classes, or even gain access to contracts within the international communities?

To conclude, the TPPA certainly has its flaws, such as secrecy from the public and the “one per cent’s” heavy involvement, just to mention a few. But it remains a great potential for Bruneians to secure massive opportunities in jobs, trade and investments in businesses across the international market.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which Brunei Darussalam signed in 2005, has sparked new questions among a relatively small circle of Bruneians. The thought came as a general discussion on economic issues within the social media sphere.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brunei containersThe Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which Brunei Darussalam signed in 2005, has sparked new questions among a relatively small circle of Bruneians. The thought came as a general discussion on economic issues within the social media sphere.

The agreement piqued the group’s interest when it was found out that it is packaged in total secrecy, and was surrounded by a storm of anti-globalisation protests across the Internet. It caught on a feverish pitch following the document’s leakage via wikileaks.com.

The document purportedly calls for an aggressive stance in market liberalisation and intellectual property rights protection on member states, including Brunei, that – if enacted – would ‘give private entities the legal power to bring a nation into compliance’.

Some jokingly suggested it to be the “one per cent’s wish list” because of heavy involvement of multinational companies. These companies include the likes of Tesco, Pfizer and Halliburton, the latter being one of biggest profiteers of the Iraq War.

So with the public out of the dark, and members of global private entities having access to matters, is it any wonder the controversy prevails?

But with Brunei Darussalam already in the pact, we Bruneians, from this writer’s humble opinion, can only adopt the military motto of “To be foretold is to be forearmed”. Because in fact, the TPPA is nothing more than the “next step” for economic growth. One which represents massive opportunities for jobs, trade and investment for Bruneians.

With greater market liberalisation – the strategic goal of the agreement -, Bruneians could encounter massive global job opportunities, access to education abroad and experience. This could then be cross-transferred towards nation building.

Imagine our youths working at world class institutions such as Goldman Sachs or the US Federal Reserve, attending Harvard Business School or even join MTV and having their expertise utilised in building the nation’s financial, real estate, monetary, media and educational sectors.

International demand through this agreement could boost trading opportunities and competition, which would force nations to innovate their way out of bureaucracy and inefficiencies. Entrepreneurs could reach higher revenues and consumers a better choice of services and products.

Brunei’s chance to meet these challenges lie on the nations’ goals placed on the industrial zone development of Pulau Muara Besar. Brunei has an ancient deep-rooted history as a regional trading hub since the reign of Sultan Bolkiah V, and this positioning still exists. With increased global trade, why doesn’t Brunei make a “dent” in the Southeast Asian region, which accounts for 600 million people?

Other opportunities are investments. The opening up of the “bottom billion” market could call for a boom in regional infrastructure, educational facilities, production facilities, and – coupled with worldwide stock trade – could allow many locals, if they are prudent, gain access to higher than average returns on their original investments.

A weird thought: Would it be a good idea if more Bruneians tie up and form an “investment trust”, akin to that of the Brunei Investment Authority, and invest in properties abroad, merge or acquire public listed companies, secure or sell different asset classes, or even gain access to contracts within the international communities?

To conclude, the TPPA certainly has its flaws, such as secrecy from the public and the “one per cent’s” heavy involvement, just to mention a few. But it remains a great potential for Bruneians to secure massive opportunities in jobs, trade and investments in businesses across the international market.

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