The tiny Southeast Asian nation of Brunei remains almost totally dependent on petroleum for its growth, to provide its lavish social welfare programs---and to help reduce any possible opposition to the ruling sultan. Today, about 95 percent of Brunei’s exports are either oil or in some way related to oil, according to the Diplomat. Brunei’s oil has helped make it the fourth-richest country in the world by GDP per capita. But with low global oil prices, and Brunei’s oil reserves predicted to run out within the next three decades, the sultanate is desperately looking for ways to diversify its economy. It has pledged to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, partly to help boost foreign investors’ interest in the country.
In a conversation with World Politics Review, I discuss Brunei’s economy and the implications of the TPP for the sultanate. Read the conversation here.