KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 (Bernama) -- The much- delayed Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) is expected to take the centre stage at the one-day 16th Malaysia-Australia Joint Trade Committee Meeting to be held here Tuesday.
It is understood specific attention will be given to MAFTA, which was first mooted in July 2005 and slated to be concluded in 2007.
However, negotiations were delayed due to certain sensitive issues.
Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who will lead the Malaysian delegation, announced late last year that Kuala Lumpur hoped to conclude free trade agreement (FTA) talks with Australia by the first quarter of this year.
Over the last few years, Malaysia concluded bilateral FTAs with Japan, Pakistan, Chile, New Zealand and India and was signatories to regional FTAs with China, Japan, South Korea, India and Australia/New Zealand.
Currently, 61 per cent of Malaysia's total trade was with FTA partners.
The meeting, to be held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, is convened mainly to discuss specific bilateral trade and investment issues concerning both countries.
It is scheduled to kick off with bilateral meeting between Mustapa and his Australian-counterpart, Craig Emerson.
Malaysia and Australia are also expected to put forward new cooperation proposals.
Malaysia is anticipated to propose cooperation between Construction Industry Development Board and Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) in sustainable and green construction.
Kuala Lumpur is also proposing another cooperation between Austrade and Malaysia External Trade Development Corp in green technology.
Meanwhile, Australia is expected to come up with ideas of cooperation between the two nations in proposed roundtable in the logistics industry and cooperation in economic reforms.
Australia is also anticipated to update the Malaysian delegation on its latest food labelling and illegal logging legislations and live animal export issues.
Mustapa and Emerson are also scheduled to witness presentations from Malaysia-Australia Business Council and Australia-Malaysia Business Council.