Trade, investment and people-to-people links between 2 great countries will continue to go from strength to strength
Pic by TMR FILE PIX
AS MY time in Malaysia draws to a close, I recognise that many Malaysians are doing it tough during the Covid-19 pandemic. But the pandemic has demonstrated the resilience and ingenuity of Malaysians as they battle this terrible disease and nd innovative ways to keep businesses and the economy moving.
The key to Malaysia and Australia’s economic recoveries will be expanding flow of trade and investment to create more and better paid jobs. Our economic partnership is an important driver of prosperity in both countries.
In the year to June 2020, two-way trade was A$22 billion (almost RM70 billion). Two-way investment stood at A$30 billion (almost RM95 billion) at the end of 2020. This makes Malaysia one of our top economic partners.
Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the relationship between Australia and Malaysia has never been stronger. We are long-standing friends and natural partners.
Our leaders recognised this in January when they upgraded the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership (CSP). The CSP includes initiatives to boost cooperation on trade and investment, the digital economy, agriculture and food security, education, and science and technology.
In May, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission and Malaysia Digital Economy Corp launched a key initiative under the CSP — the Australia Malaysia Tech Exchange (AMTX). The AMTX is a joint programme of activities to support the digital transformation of businesses in both countries. It will promote opportunities for Australian and Malaysian businesses to partner on advanced technology solutions.
Agriculture, fisheries and forestry, together with food and beverage processing, are a big part of both our economies. Australian products are critical inputs for Malaysian food manufacturing and offer choice and quality to Malaysian consumers. I am very proud of the work my team has done with the Malaysian government to facilitate two-way agricultural trade. As I outlined in an earlier article in April, experience shows us that openness to agricultural trade is the key to food security.
Trade agreements are crucial to helping our businesses grow, prosper and create new jobs. Australia and Malaysia are among the countries that negotiated two key regional agreements — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
Australia ratified CPTPP in 2018 and is working to ratify RCEP. Malaysian ratification of these agreements would show the world that Malaysia is open for business.
As high commissioner, I have worked closely with the Malaysian government and Australia’s businesses in Malaysia to encourage more Australian investment and promote business-friendly policies. Malaysia provides an attractive environment for Australian investors. I would like to thank the Malaysian government for being receptive to our occasional suggestions for improvements.
Continuing to improve the environment for all businesses, including investors from partners like Australia, will be crucial for Malaysia to build the high-tech industries of the future and prosper in an increasingly competitive region.
Much of my more than three years in Malaysia has been challenging. But I am confident the Malaysian economy will bounce back from Covid-19 stronger than ever.
I am also very confident the trade, investment and peopleto-people links between our two great countries will continue to go from strength to strength.
- Andrew Goledzinowski is the Australian high commissioner to Malaysia.
The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.