Doing business in Malaysia

The bilateral Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) guarantees tariff-free entry for over 97% of our current exports to Malaysia.

Malaysia is one of the ASEAN region’s largest economies. Australia and Malaysia share a strong economic relationship, with the latter being Australia’s ninth largest trading partner.

In 2012, the two governments signed the bilateral Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA), which guarantees tariff-free entry for 97.6% of our current exports to Malaysia. This percentage is expected to rise by 2017. Malaysian exports to Australia are similarly duty free.

MAFTA gives Australian business increased access to Malaysia’s high-middle income, export oriented economy and favourable business climate. To further improve its business environment, the Malaysian government has relaxed foreign ownership laws in the manufacturing sector. It has also introduced a range of incentives to attract investors to invest in infrastructure. It has also recently implemented liberal changes to the financial services sector to attract international players.


Consider some key facts:

  • Malaysia was the world’s 35th biggest economy in 2015, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of just under USD300 billion.
  • In terms of purchasing power parity, Malaysia is the third most prosperous nation in Southeast Asia, behind Singapore and Brunei.
  • Although GDP growth slowed in late 2015, the rate still stood at an impressive five per cent.
  • Malaysia’s government expects the country’s burgeoning middle class to grow from its current 40 per cent of the population to 45 per cent by 2020.
  • Average household incomes in Malaysia increased by 52 per cent between 2009 and 2014, to a value of MYR 6,141 ($2,103).


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