MAFTA to boosts Malaysia-Australia trade ties MAFTA to boosts Malaysia-Australia trade ties

PETALING JAYA: The enforcement of the Malaysia Australia Free Trade Agreement (Mafta) is expected to support of development of bilateral business relations between Malaysia and Australia.

Both the Malaysia Australia Business Council (MABC) and the Australia Malaysia Business Council (AMBC) seek to raise awareness of opportunities for business in both countries, as well as facilitate collaborations between Australian and Malaysian businesses.

Mafta came into force on Jan 1.

"With the dawn of 2013, there are now some fantastic opportunities for the business communities of both Malaysia and Australia as a result of Mafta coming into force. Although this agreement took several years to finalise, the effort of both the Malaysian and Australian governments is extremely fruitful given the number of business sectors that can benefit," MABC chairman Michael Halpin said.

"The agreement that was signed by Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed from Malaysia and Minister Dr Craig Emerson from Australia on May 22, 2012, combined with the Malaysian government's agenda of accelerated transformation with emphasis on infrastructure and services, it will provide a unique window of opportunity for Australian and Malaysian businesses to increase trade and investment flows and collaborate on initiatives which will take Australian/Malaysian expertise to the wider Asean region," AMBC national president Larry Gould said.

Both Malaysian and Australian governments will make details of opportunities created available via the offices of International Trade and Industry Ministry, Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australian Trade Commission.

Information would also be available via new media channels such as online "tariff finders".

"Mafta goes further than ANZFTA – the Asean Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. Mafta gives Malaysian companies the same tariff-free entry to the Australian market that is currently enjoyed by Singapore i.e. for products such as food, palm oil-related goods, cocoa, plastics, clothing and apparel, wooden furniture etc," said Halpin.

Gould added: "Malaysian companies will be able to participate in sectors in Australia such as hospital services and the provision of traditional and complementary medicine such as Malay massage, homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine."

"Australian companies will enjoy immediate tariff-free entry for 97.6% of goods exported into the Malaysian market. This will rise to 99% by 2017," said Halpin.