MELBOURNE: The New South Wales (NSW) state government has encouraged its business community to take advantage of the opportunities offered under the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (Mafta) which came into force last week.
"Given that Malaysia is NSW's 11th largest merchandise export market, the start of Mafta is welcome news.
"From milk and wine to processed foods, iron and steel, a number of NSW industries stand to benefit from cuts to tariffs under the agreement," NSW Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner said in a statement.
"Australian investors are also now guaranteed the right to majority ownership in companies across a wide range of service sectors in Malaysia, including education, investment banking, direct insurance, telecommunications, accounting, auditing and bookkeeping, management consulting, taxation services, tourism, research and development, and mining-related services.
"The agreement is an important extension of NSW and Australia's relationship with Asia, but the NSW government continues to call on the Australian government to step up efforts to secure increased access to key markets for which trade agreements are not yet in place.
"In particular, NSW seeks the conclusion of high-quality agreements with China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea."
Under Mafta, 97.6 per cent of Australian goods exported to Malaysia are eligible for tariff-free treatment, rising to 99 per cent in 2017.
"(Australian) farmers will be pleased to see Mafta includes dairy and rice, with a liberalised licensing arrangement for liquid milk exporters that will allow access for higher value retail products and open access arrangements for rice from 2023 with all tariffs eliminated by 2026."
Stoner said NSW manufacturers can take advantage of the elimination of virtually all tariffs on processed foods, plastics, chemicals and manufactured products.
The agreement also allows for business-friendly rules of origin provisions, more Australian business executives to work in Malaysia and for longer periods, the establishment of a framework for mutual recognition of qualifications and licensing for professionals, stronger protection of Australian trademarks and copyright, and improvements to e-commerce. Bernama