Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the British Diplomatic Service Sir Simon McDonald made a two day working visit to Brunei, his first stop on a tour of South East Asia and first ever visit to Brunei.
At a meeting with senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade he discussed bilateral, international and regional issues. He also met Deputy Minister of Finance Dato Dr Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah to discuss economic diversification and trade and investment issues for British companies.
British companies and members of the Bruneian business community briefed him on current economic developments and potential trade opportunities. They welcomed the recent appointment of Mr Mark Garnier MP as the new UK Trade Envoy to Brunei.
Sir Simon also engaged in lively discussion with Bruneian future young leaders across a range of sectors. These included former Chevening students, who had studied in the UK under the British government’s flagship scholarship programme.
In a busy programme, Sir Simon also flew to Seria to meet British Forces Brunei. He was briefed by the Commander, met Garrison personnel and saw firsthand their capabilities, including to conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in the region.
On departing Brunei Sir Simon said:
The United Kingdom and Brunei have been longstanding friends. I saw for myself the depth of our engagement in business, energy, defence and education.
I am convinced there are new opportunities to seize as both our economies continue to evolve.
The Permanent Under-Secretary is responsible for advising the Foreign Secretary and the ministerial team on foreign policy, and for managing the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He chairs the FCO Board and is also Head of the Diplomatic Service.