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3 Chinese Firms Eye Brunei For Tuna Fishing Brunei, June 14, 13

Three companies from China have expressed interest in deep sea fishing prospects in waters off the sultanate’s coast, the President of Brunei-China Friendship Association (BCFA) said yesterday.

In an interview at BCFA headquarters in Gadong following a visit by Chinese media, Dr. Hj Kamaruddin Dato Seri Paduka Hj Talib said that the companies have looked into harvesting deep sea fish such as tuna on their own and are keen to return to the country provided more details on deep sea fishing in “Zone Four” is given by relevant authorities.

“It (Zone Four) is an area that is untapped because we do not have the technology for it. You need the right vessel to keep up with the fast-swimming fish and the knowledge on how to handle them,” he told The Brunei Times.

“You also need the sonar equipment to detect where the fish is and long lines because it would otherwise be impossible for you to catch up with them,” he said.

According to him, companies from Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong have attempted the task but were unsuccessful due to lack of technology.

“This is because Zone 4 is the deepest and outer most end in Brunei waters,” he said, adding that information given by Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources has shown the area to be full of untapped opportunities.

BCFA Vice President Dr. Md Firdaus Abd Rahman said that the companies are trying to find out more information about Brunei’s deeper waters before moving forward.

“A lot of investment is required in the area of deep sea fishing so they (Chinese companies) need more information about it (deep sea) from the Fisheries Department. It is still workable but the companies need more statistics,” he said.

The visiting media comprised representatives of the China Central Television, China News Service, Peoples Daily, Guangxi Television, and Nanning Television.

During the interview, Dr. Hj Kamaruddin highlighted that Brunei and China need to ease regulations to give more room for businesses to penetrate their respective markets. By doing so, he said that industries such as tourism would flourish even more.

He also said that China could also help Brunei in its effort to diversify its economy from the oil and gas industry and its bid to ensure food security and reduce dependency on imports.

He said that over 50 local companies and individuals have made enquires on business processes and opportunities in the world’s second largest economy.
There has been strong indication showing immediate interest from China for Brunei’s liquefied natural gas but this would depend on how well the Sultanate can cope with China’s massive demand, he said.
China has pursued its soft power agenda through the establishment of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, which came into force in 2010. In 2012, trade between China and ASEAN amounted to USD 400 billion ($501 billion) while bilateral investment reached USD 100 billion. China has also provided scholarship and training opportunities to students and government officials from ASEAN member countries.