Doing business

Current business situation

On 1 January 2010 the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) entered into force for Brunei Australia’s most ambitious trade deal to date. Australian business is urged to take a close look at the enhanced market access opportunities created by the agreement.

More information on AANZFTA.

Business culture

Business tips

Business practices:

  • Bribery is a serious and punishable offence in Brunei.
  • Avoid conducting business events on Thursday nights (holy night).
  • When inviting Bruneians to lunch or dinner, consider their ethnic origins (eg. pork is forbidden among Muslims, and opt for Halal food/restaurants when hosting Muslims). You may find it easier to ask your guests to recommend a restaurant.
  • Avoid conversations concerning sex, religion or politics.
  • It is advisable to be modestly attired when attending meetings, and to observe dress codes when applicable.

Social etiquette in Brunei:

  • When entering a Malay or Chinese house, shoes should be taken off and left outside.
  • It is considered impolite to show the soles of your feet when seated opposite a person. Do not cross your legs, but keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Use your right hand at all times when giving or receiving.
  • Avoid touching and pointing. If you need to point, use the thumb of your right hand with your other fingers clenched.
  • Public displays of affection such as hugging and kissing are not usual in Brunei.
  • It is not customary for Muslims to shake hands with a member of the opposite sex. Wait for them to offer first.
  • To turn down food being served, touch the plate lightly with the right hand and respectfully turn down the offer.
  • When giving or receiving an item, such as a business card, it is polite to offer or receive the item with both hands.
  • Don’t sit until your host or hostess invites you to do so.

Setting up in Brunei

The Brunei Economic Development Board plays an important role of stimulating the growth, expansion and development of Brunei’s economy by promoting Brunei Darussalam as an investment destination.

The Board is also responsible for implementing government policies and preparing investment promotion plans, incentives and marketing strategies to attract foreign and local investments.

For further information on setting up in Brunei, please see The Brunei Economic Development Board website.

Banking and finance

The following banks provide full banking services in the country:

The following have offices in Brunei for specialised investment advisory services:

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Prime Minister’s Office of Brunei Darussalam – www.pmo.gov.bn
Brunei Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources – www.industry.gov.bn
Brunei Ministry of Development – www.mod.gov.bn
Brunei Ministry of Finance – www.mof.gov.bn
Brunei Energy Department – www.energy.gov.bn
Brunei Economic Development Board – www.bedb.com.bn
National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Brunei – www.nccibd.com
Brunei Industrial Development Department – www.bina.gov.bn
Brunei Government Ministries and Department Directory – www.gov.bn/en/Directory/Pages/default.aspx

News and media

The Borneo Bulletin – www.borneobulletin.com.bn
The Brunei Times – www.bt.com.bn
Radio Televisyen Brunei news – www.rtbnews.rtb.gov.bn

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.