Last updated in December 2013
Brunei views Germany as an important economic partner, both bilaterally and in the context of the dialogue between ASEAN and the European Union. The two countries have maintained uninterrupted diplomatic relations since Brunei gained independence in 1984. The Federal Chancellor’s visit to Bandar Seri Begawan in 1997 and the Sultan’s official and working visits to Germany in 1998, 2002 and 2011 have helped intensify relations between the two countries.
Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle travelled to Brunei to attend the ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting from 25 to 27 April 2012. During this trip, he met with his Brunei counterpart Prince Bolkiah. The two ministers had previously met at the 2010 ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in Madrid.
Other important recent events were the talks between Brunei’s Minister of Health Pehin Dato Adanan and Federal Health Minister Rösler in Berlin in November 2010 and the visits to Bandar Seri Begawan by German Bundestag delegations in February 2007 and January 2011.
The visit to Brunei in May 2008 by Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Michael Glos, who was accompanied by a business delegation, signalled a further intensification of relations. In 2009, Brunei’s Minister of Interior Affairs and the Deputy Ministers of Defence and Health paid official visits to Germany.
In April 2013, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Health Widmann-Mauz signed a memorandum of understanding with Brunei’s Ministry of Health in Bandar Seri Begawan. In the health care sector, the North-West Hospital in Frankfurt am Main is already providing successful support for the construction of a neurology clinic in Brunei. The cooperation is to be extended to other areas of medicine and to academic research.
Bilateral trade increased temporarily up to the end of 2011, to approximately EUR 346 million, but returned to its usual level of around EUR 50 million in 2012. Germany’s main direct exports to Brunei are motor vehicles, electrical goods and machinery; Germany also exports consumer goods to Brunei via Singapore, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Since the summer of 2008, Brunei has again been sending government-funded students to study in Germany (there are currently 20 of them enrolled at German universities).
Brunei’s government now also offers grants to young Germans enabling them to study at universities in Brunei. There are currently three German lecturers teaching at the University of Brunei Darussalam. A growing number of German tourists are visiting Brunei. Since 2008, German cruise ships too have again been calling regularly at Muara Port near Bandar Seri Begawan.