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M'sian firms urged to seize opportunities under Mafta

Publication Date : 27-12-2012


Malaysian companies should seize the business opportunities under the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (Mafta) and beef up their promotional and marketing efforts to secure a strong foothold in Australia.

The International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti), in a statement, said Mafta would benefit exporters as Australia eliminated 100 per cent of its import duties which will come into effect from Jan 1, 2013.

This is the first free trade agreement (FTA) under which Malaysia will be obtaining immediate tariff elimination on all products from an FTA partner.

As Mafta aims to provide a more liberal and predictable operating environment for both countries, the market access for trade in services in several sub-sectors will also be enhanced.

“Malaysian companies will have the right to participate in hospital services and hospital support services in Australia (and at the same time) Australia will also facilitate Malaysian participation in the provision of traditional and complementary medicine services such as Malay massage, homeopathy, ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine,” it stated.

Furthermore, the agreement will allow Malaysians to wholly-own operations in professional sectors, including legal, accounting, taxation, architectural, engineering, urban planning, landscape architectural, dental, veterinary and management consulting services.

In turn, Malaysia is offering commitment for more Australian participation in education, telecommunications and financial services locally.

Aside from those sectors, Mafta will also promote better economic co-operation in the form of technical programmes mainly in the automotive, tourism, agriculture, e-commerce and clean coal technology industries.

In 2011, trade between Malaysia and Australia grew by 11.1 per cent to 38.49 billion ringgit (US$12.54 billion) from 34.2 billion ringgit in 2010, with exports to Australia hitting 25.68 billion ringgit and imports amounting to 12.81 billion ringgit.

The ministry also said that Malaysia has the potential to export to Australia iron and steel products, plastic products, apparel and clothing, wooden furniture products, palm oil and palm oil-related products, cocoa and cocoa products, food products and automotive products.

The Mafta, signed on May 22, is Malaysia’s sixth FTA. It will come into effect on January 1 next year.

*US$1=3.06 ringgit


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