Malaysia to enhance trade ties with Australia

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Malaysia will enhance various opportunities in business and investment with Australia after the enforcement of the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement on January 1 last year.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said he welcomed more Australian trade missions to explore and seek the wealth of investment opportunities in Malaysia.

“Among the potential areas are financial, insurance, telecommunication and the manufacturing industries,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop at Wisma Putra on Monday.

Bishop, who is on her first official visit to Malaysia, also welcomed more Malaysian investment to Australian.

Earlier, Bishop made a courtesy call and held a bilateral meeting with Anifah where they both discussed the progress of the ongoing bilateral cooperation between Malaysia and Australia.

On education, Anifah said it will continue to be an integral part of Malaysia-Australia bilateral relations. There are currently more than 13,000 Malaysian students pursuing higher education in Australia.

“Malaysia looks forward to encouraging more Australian students and researchers to study and to do their research in Malaysia,” he said.

Anifah said other topics discussed at the meeting included Australia’s new government foreign policy which would focus on economic diplomacy and public diplomacy via its flagship initiative, the new Colombo Plan.

“In this respect, Malaysia welcomes Australia’s interest to invite Malaysia to take part in the New Colombo Plan next year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bishop said Australia would continue to cooperate with Malaysia in tackling the issue of human trafficking and finding ways to stop the illegal activity.

She congratulated Malaysia as the country would chair the ASEAN Summit in 2015, and said that ASEAN had played an important role in the region to overcome various issues such as the sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea and other regional and international issues.

Allegations of Australia spying on Indonesia were also touched on during Bishop’s visit.

She has vowed to revive relations with Indonesia which were hit by the scandal.

Jakarta has said ties will be frozen until a code of conduct to govern intelligence gathering is put in place.

Bishop said she has been constantly communicating with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa to resolve the issues.

Australia’s ties with Malaysia were also affected by the spying allegations, but Anifah appeared ready to move on.

He called Australia — Malaysia’s close friend and an important regional neighbour.




Source : Channel News Asia | February 20, 2014


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