Switzerland to intensify involvement with Brunei

National 2 minutes, 13 seconds


SWITZERLAND will be intensifying their involvement with Brunei and other ASEAN countries in certain sectors in the coming years as they look to become a sectoral dialogue partner of the regional bloc.

This was the statement made by Assistant State Secretary of Switzerland (Asia-Pacific) Johannes Matyassy during an interview with the media yesterday.

“Switzerland is currently applying to become a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN so we are now working on an action plan for 2017-2020, showing our intentions for the region in the future,” he said.

“With the action plan, cooperation with Brunei will be intensified and so will the cooperation between Switzerland and ASEAN as a whole and the intensity of our relations with ASEAN, as well as the individual member countries, will be increased after the implementation of the action plan,” he said.

A sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN is a partnership with a country granted the status whereby discussions and cooperation is limited to certain matters of mutual interest.

Matyassy said that although nothing has been decided yet, the action plan is currently being formulated with a view to incorporate sectors which can most mutually benefit both sides.

“What we are doing now with this action plan is to look at our activities that we already have with our (ASEAN partners), as well what can be added to it,” he said.

“So for example, one of the fields that was emphasised was in the field of vocational training where there is potential and a very solid basis for cooperation in the future at a regional level,” he said.

“Another sector is the tourism industry... I would also like to stress that 2020 is not the end, we are now just giving our ASEAN partners an idea (with the action plan) in which direction we would like to go and then the next steps come after,” he said.

He said that the action plan aims to achieve a partnership that will mutually benefit both Switzerland and ASEAN member states such as Brunei and open up opportunities for the future.

Matyassy, who is visiting Brunei for the first time, is in the country on a working visit where he stopped by the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organisation Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education building in Gadong and met with senior officials at the ministry of foreign affairs and trade.

During the meeting, Matyassy met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Dato Paduka Hj Erywan Pehin Dato Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof and two of the permanent secretaries at the ministry building where he was briefed on the trade opportunities for Swiss companies in Brunei.

The Brunei Times