Our trade with Brunei is modest due to the tight market. It accounted for approximately 10 million euros in 2011, showing a surplus for France of 8.5 million euros. However, French exports are reflected inaccurately in customs statistics, because most of our companies do not export directly from France, but through regional intermediaries located in Malaysia, Thailand and especially Singapore (which, with 20%, is a leading supplier to the Sultanate, but the sales of which are, to a large extent, re-exports). Total’s temporary relocation of oil equipment is also resulting in economically insignificant import and export figures.
Accordingly, Michelin holds 20% of Brunei’s tire market, without these items appearing in trade between France and Brunei. Among current consumer goods, the presence of L’Oréal for cosmetics, SEB in kitchenware and small appliances, and Danone in infant food and mineral waters should also be pointed out. French manufacturers cover 2 to 3% of the automotive market. The Schneider and Alstom groups sell equipment in the energy sector and hydrocarbon exploration and production suppliers (Spie-Batignolles, Schlumberger, etc.) are very present, with fluctuations related to the rhythm of investments. In the luxury goods sector, the jeweller Korloff has a sales outlet, but wealthy Bruneians prefer to buy LVMH or Hermès products in Europe or Singapore.
Total (cf. above), which employs more than half of the expatriates listed by the embassy in Brunei, is by far the leading French investor present in the country. BNP-Paribas holds 15% of Baiduri Bank (where members of the royal family hold a controlling interest) and provides the Managing Director. Air France Industries maintains Royal Brunei Airlines’ Boeing 777s. SDV (logistics) is also well established.
Founded in 2000, the French Bruneian Business Association (www.fbbabrunei.com) has about a hundred members.
Updated on 22.08.12