Bandar Seri Begawan - His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is scheduled to make a State Visit to New Zealand from March 25 to 28.
Sir Jerry Mateparae, the Governor-General of New Zealand, said His Majesty's upcoming visit not only underpins the strong links between the Sultanate and New Zealand in the field of education, trade and defence, but also builds upon the positive and friendly relationship between the two countries.
"This year Brunei Darussalam will chair the Association of South East Asian Nations. Asean is taking an increasingly important role in New Zealand's future in helping to maintain peace and security critical to future prosperity within the Asia-Pacific region," New Zealand media quoted the Governor-General as saying.
During the visit, His Majesty will also receive a State Welcome at the Government House in Wellington on March 26 at 2pm, followed by a State Dinner that evening. His Majesty will also lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington.
According to New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, both nations enjoy a degree of cooperation in many areas including trade, investment, education and defence.
Much of the past contact between New Zealand and Brunei has been in the context of Brunei's membership of Asean. Brunei attaches the highest importance to its Asean membership and has participated actively in that organisation. The end of Brunei's three-year role as New Zealand's Asean Dialogue country coordinator in July 2000 coincided with the 25th anniversary of NZ-Asean Dialogue relations.
Brunei and New Zealand also work together in the East Asia Summit, APEC, the Commonwealth and the United Nations. Brunei is also a member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
Two-way trade between New Zealand and Brunei is moderate, with trade totalling NZ$630 million for the year ending June 2010. New Zealand's exports to Brunei were around NZ$3.61 million in the year ending December 2010. Main exports continue to be dairy products, valued at about NZ$2 million and fish products, NZ$0.52 million.
The official trade figures, however, do not reflect considerable quantities of New Zealand products shipped to Brunei from traders based in Singapore and Malaysia. The level of Brunei investment in New Zealand is not well recorded, partly because much of it enters indirectly via Singapore institutions.
New Zealand's imports from Brunei are nearly exclusively crude oil, the volume of which fluctuates widely from year to year. Crude oil imports in the year ending December 2010 reached NZ$626 million compared to NZS186 million in 2006. Non-petroleum imports to December 2010 amounted to NZ$114,000.
High-level visits from and to Brunei, have cemented the bilateral relationship.
Recent visits to Brunei include, Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor-General of New Zealand and Lady Susan Satyanand in October 2010, Trevor Mallard, a Cabinet Minister, for the Commonwealth Finance Ministers' Meeting in September 2003, Prime Minister Helen Clark in November 2000 for the 81h APEC Leaders Meeting. Other ministers to visit Brunei include Phil Goff, Jim Sutton, Dr Michael Cullen and Pete Hodgson.
His Majesty visited New Zealand twice in 1995, and also attended the APEC Leaders' Meeting in Auckland in September 1999. HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, visited New Zealand in March 2003.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin