BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Brunei is "troubled" by the "less than encouraging" growth of the country's economy, said the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Thursday, as he urged local businesses to make their products more competitive.
During his address to mark the start of Brunei's Legislative Council proceedings, the monarch noted the country has been heavily reliant on the oil industry amid a global trend of falling oil prices.
According to Brunei's Department of Economic Planning and Development (DEPD) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the oil and gas sector accounts for 57.3 percent of the sultanate's economy.
The monarch urged traders and entrepreneurs to take advantage of international trade agreements to enhance their products and services to better compete.
The sultan said Brunei has entered into several free trade agreements with regional and international partners.
He noted that negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an economic cooperation agreement between Association of Southeast Asian Nations and trading partners Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, will soon be concluded.
The Legislative Council of Brunei meets once a year in March to not only consider and approve budgets and revenue estimates but also to review policies and pass bills and motions brought by the government and other members of the council.