Report surveys US businesses in Brunei on TPP impact

National 1 minute, 48 seconds


SIXTY-SEVEN per cent of American executives surveyed in Brunei said they expect the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to have a “neutral effect” on their business, while 33 per cent said the free trade deal would be beneficial, according to a recent survey conducted by the US Chamber of Commerce.


The report, titled ASEAN Business Outlook Survey 2016, was jointly conducted with the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and intended as a “key barometer of US business sentiment in Southeast Asia”.


Brunei is one of four founding members of the TPP — the world’s largest free trade deal — which was created to phase out thousands of import tariffs as well as other barriers to international trade.


As well as the United States and Japan, the TPP also includes four ASEAN countries – Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.


According to the survey, 41 per cent of American companies in the four TPP economies in ASEAN said they were confident the trade pact would affect their business and investment planning over the next few years.


“The Trans-Pacific Partnership can open up new opportunities for trade and investment between the current ASEAN participants and the United States, and it is our hope that those ASEAN members that are not part of TPP will consider participating,” the report stated.


However, American businesses in the six ASEAN countries not participating in the trade deal had a more ambivalent outlook. Just 33 per cent of companies surveyed in those countries said the TPP would impact the location of their investments in the region.


American executives in Brunei were more optimistic, with 58 per cent saying the Pacific accord would increase their companies’ level of investment in ASEAN over the next five years. Once ratified, the 12-nation agreement will provide member countries access to a market of over 800 million people in Asia-Pacific, accounting for 40 per cent of the global economy or US$30 trillion ($41.7 trillion).


The deal is seen as key to economic diversification efforts in Brunei, where 90 per cent of national revenue is generated through oil and gas production.


The ASEAN Business Outlook Survey 2016 incorporates the responses of nearly 500 senior business executives representing US companies in all ten ASEAN markets.


The Brunei Times