Feb 2 (Bernama) -- The Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA),
expected to be inked in three months, will smoothen and increase the movement
of goods and services between both countries, said the chief executive officer
of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) Dr Wong Lai
She said Malaysia, which currently does not have a direct agreement with
Australia, except through the ASEAN-ANZ (Australia and New Zealand) FTA, has so
far benefited tremendously from the regional agreement.
"A direct agreement such as the MAFTA will further compliment the Asean
agreement and pave the way for easier access to markets in both countries.
"Trade between the two countries will increase significantly as well as
the number of Malaysian and Australian companies gaining business
"More than anything else, Malaysia has a lower manufacturing cost compared
to Australia. This will attract more Australian investors to invest here,"
she told Bernama in an interview.
Wong said the agreement will also increase understanding and sharing of
sentiment knowledge between Malaysia and Australia.
Malaysia, she added, has the advantage of capturing Australia's strong services
segment through the continued services sector liberalisation by the government.
Last Tuesday, the trade ministers of Malaysia and Australia, jointly chaired
the 16th Malaysia-Australia Joint Trade Committee Meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
After the session, Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri
Mustapa Mohamed and his Australian-counterpart, Craig Emerson, agreed that the
meeting had successfully closed the gaps pertaining to the conclusion of the
Australia was Malaysia's 11th largest trading partner for the January-November
period of last year.
Total trade with Australia increased by 6.1 per cent to reach RM34.0 billion
last year compared with the RM32.0 billion in 2010.