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Mafta to boost M’sia-Australia trade, investment ties

New Straits Times, Malaysia

Mafta to boost M’sia-Australia trade, investment ties

31 January 2012

BERNAMA/KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) will elevate the bilateral trade and investment relations of both nations to a new level, and build further on the achievements of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

This was agreed by both the Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and his Australian-counterpart, Dr Craig Emerson after the 16th Malaysia-Australia Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting.

The one day meeting chaired by Mustapa and Emerson also saw the ministers reaffirming the joint commitment made by their respective prime ministers to conclude the MAFTA in 2012.

The meeting also noted that the negotiation teams from both countries had intensified efforts to narrow and resolve the differences, said a statement issued here today by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry on the meeting.

The 16th JTC meeting also discussed a number of issues ranging from Australia’s food labelling legislation, logging regulation and investment issues related to mining and resource processing as well as financial services.

"The meeting reviewed the progress of the ongoing close cooperation between Malaysia and Australia on customs matters, Islamic finance, clean energy and green technology as well as the automotive sector."

It was also agreed that Malaysia and Australia pursue cooperation in the areas of sustainable and green construction with initiatives to include among others, a bilateral roundtable on the logistics sector to share experience and enhance capacity building, the ministry said.

Malaysia and Australia also exchanged experience and shared expertise on economic reforms being implemented by both governments.

Australia was Malaysia’s 11th largest trading partner for the January-November period 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.