Malaysia is Australia’s tenth largest trading partner, accounting for $24 billion or 2.8% of Australia’s bilateral trading relationship in 2018. The Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) came into force on 1 January 2013. Australian exports to Malaysia totalled $10.1 billion (2.3% of total exports) in 2018. Major goods exports included copper, coal, crude petroleum and wheat. Australia imported $14 billion of goods and services, mainly consisting of crude petroleum, refined petroleum, computers, telecommunications and electronics equipment.
Services exports reached $2.6 billion in 2018. Education makes up the bulk of services exports. Malaysia is Australia’s fifth largest source of international students, with over 33,700 enrolments in 2018 (4% of total).
Malaysia is also an important source of tourists, with more than 400,000 visitors in 2018 worth about $1.4 billion. Tourism Research Australia expects this market could grow to 540,000 visitors by June 2025, with tourism spend rising to $2.3 billion.
In terms of foreign investment stocks, Malaysia is a small investor in Australia, owning a portfolio of $22 billion in 2018 (0.6% of the total foreign investment stock). Australia’s largest investors remain traditional markets, the US and the UK.
Malaysia also constitutes a small share of Australia’s investment abroad at $10.2 billion or 0.4% of the total stock of outward investment in 2018.