Malaysia Country profile

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Malaysia is Australia’s 12th largest trading partner accounting for 2.2% of Australia’s bilateral trading relationship. The Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) came into force on 1 January 2013. Australia’s goods exports to Malaysia totalled A$5.5b (2.1% of total goods exports) in 2016. Major exports included copper, coal, crude petroleum and wheat. Australia imported A$10.1b of goods mainly consisting of crude petroleum, refined petroleum, computers and telecommunications equipment.

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Australia also exported A$1.9b of services to Malaysia in 2016—made up largely of education related services. Malaysia is Australia’s 7th largest source of international students —with over 28,500 enrolments in 2016 (3% of total).

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Malaysia is also an important source of tourists, with close to 400,000 visitors in 2016 worth A$1.2b. Tourism Australia expects this market could grow to between A$2b to A$2.5b by 2020. 

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In terms of foreign investment stocks, Malaysia is a small investor in Australia, owning a portfolio of A$20.5b in 2016 (0.6% of the total foreign investment stock). Australia’s largest investors remain traditional markets—the US with A$860b, and the UK with A$515b.

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Malaysia also constitutes a small share of Australia’s investment abroad at A$8.7b or 0.4% of the total stock of outward investment in 2016.

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