ABOUT MATRADE > Media > Speeches > Speeches 2013 > Welcoming Remarks By YBhg. Datuk Dr. Wong Lai Sum, Updates On Malaysia - Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) (27 March 2013)
ABOUT MATRADE > Media > Speeches > Speeches 2013 > Welcoming Remarks By YBhg. Datuk Dr. Wong Lai Sum, Updates On Malaysia - Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) (27 March 2013)

Welcoming Remarks By YBhg. Datuk Dr. Wong Lai Sum, Updates On Malaysia - Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) (27 March 2013)




27 MARCH 2013





A very good morning and Salam 1Malaysia,

Distinguished speakers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning and welcome to MATRADE – your partner in international business. First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your presence this morning to participate in this seminar which I hope will greatly benefit all participants.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and Malaysia – Australia Business Council (MABC) who have kindly accepted our invitation to speak in this seminar. It is our privilege to have with us the speakers, Mr.  Michael Halpin, Chairman of Malaysia – Australia Business Council (MABC) and Pn. Lin Azura Yahya from MITI. Thank you very much to both of you for taking your time to be with us today to share your knowledge and expertise on MAFTA and doing business in Australia.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Malaysia and Australia concluded negotiations on the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) on 30 March 2012 and entered into force on 1 January 2013.

MAFTA is a comprehensive agreement, which comprises 21 chapters encompassing trade in goods, services and investment as well as economic cooperation. It also covers intellectual property rights, e-commerce and competition policy. MAFTA marks another important milestone in Malaysia – Australia economic relations, complementing the already established ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA).  Under MAFTA, Australia will eliminate 100% of its import tariffs upon entry-into-force on 1 January 2013 while Malaysia will progressively reduce or eliminate import tariffs on 99% of its tariff lines by 2020.  Malaysian products potentially for exports under MAFTA includes 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.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I mentioned earlier, MAFTA does not only cover trade in goods but also in services and economic cooperation programmes.  Thus, among the benefits to Malaysian exporters are:

· Improves market access especially in services sector.  For example Malaysian companies are able to participate in hospital services and hospital support services in Australia.

· Malaysians professional are also allowed to wholly-own operations that includes legal, accounting, taxation, architectural, engineering, urban planning, landscape architectural, dental, veterinary and management consulting services.

· Malaysian will have opportunities to participate in technical programmes mainly in Automotive, Tourism, Agriculture, E-Commerce and Clean Coal Technology.

I believe Pn Lin Azura from MITI will give more detail explanation on the methodology and technical aspects of MAFTA in her presentation later on.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Australia was Malaysia’s ninth largest trading partners in 2012, accounting for 3.3 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade. Total trade recorded in 2012 increased by 13.6 per cent to RM43.72 billion.

Malaysia’s export to Australia expanded by 13.3 per cent to RM29.1 billion in 2012 compared to RM25.68 billion in 2011. Among Malaysia’s major exports to Australia are crude petroleum, consumer electrical and electronic goods, automotive parts and components and furniture.

On the other hand, Malaysia’s import from Australia increased by 14.1 per cent to RM14.62 billion in 2012. Main imports from Australia were manufactures of metals, processed food, crude petroleum, and other mining goods.

With this positive growth and the conclusion of MAFTA, I do believe we will further strengthen our trade with Australia.  Thus, Malaysian companies need to take full advantages of the elimination of duties under MAFTA to further deepen and boost our trade with Australia.

Ladies and gentlemen,

While acknowledging the progress made on Malaysia’s trade under FTAs, we still believe there is still a need to intensify our outreach programmes to increase awareness of business communities on the benefits to be derived from the agreement and encourage greater utilisation of the FTAs by Malaysian companies.

Today’s seminar is part of the continuous effort undertaken by MATRADE to promote the FTAs to the Malaysian business community.  This half day seminar aims to give greater understanding of the benefits and mechanism of MAFTA. We will also discuss on a greater detail the methodology and technical aspects of the MAFTA and we are fortunate as we have with us today, the expert from MITI to enlighten us on the subject as well to answer any questions that you may have on the FTA.

To the participants, we hope that you will take the opportunity to ask our distinguished speakers any question that you may have on MAFTA as well as on doing business in Australia. On that note, I would once again like to record our appreciation to the speakers and all participants for your continuous support. I wish you a fruitful deliberation at this seminar.

Thank you.