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Australian Companies Urged To Use M’sia As Regional Hub

Bernama, Malaysia

Australian Companies Urged To Use M’sia As Regional Hub

From Minggu Simon Lhasa

2 August 2006

ADELAIDE, Aug 2 (Bernama) — Australian companies have been urged to use Malaysia as a regional hub for their businesses, taking advantage of the free trade agreements (FTAs) that Malaysia had signed with several countries.

The web of FTAs being established by Malaysia with its major trading partners provided opportunities for investors in Malaysia, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said at a seminar on business opportunities in Malaysia here today.

She said investors could increase exports to countries that have FTAs with Malaysia, including those that the country is involved through Asean.

Rafidah said Asean was engaged in free trade negotiations with several trading partners, including India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

It has already implemented the FTA on goods with China since July 20, 2005, and is now negotiating on areas of investment and services, she said.

Rafidah said Australian investors could also access markets such as India, Japan and South Korea, countries which Australia has yet to engage in FTA negotiations, not only for their goods but also services.

As for Australian companies that intended to establish their regional hubs in Malaysia, she said the promoted operations included operational headquarters, international procurement centres, regional distribution centres and regional/representative offices.

She also said that Australian investors had invested A$544 million in 226 manufacturing projects in Malaysia up to April this year, while Malaysian investors invested A$2.9 billion in Australia as at end of last year.