Malaysia is Australia’s 11th largest trading partner accounting for 2.7% (A$20.7b) of Australia’s bilateral trading relationship. The Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) came into force on 1 January 2013. Australian exports to Malaysia totalled A$8.6b (2.2% of total exports) in 2017. Major goods exports included copper, coal, crude petroleum and wheat. Australia imported A$12.1b of goods and services mainly consisting of crude petroleum, refined petroleum, computers and telecommunications equipment.
Of the A$8.6b of exports, services accounted for A$2.6b in 2017. Education made up 50% of service exports as Malaysia is Australia’s 5th largest source of international students —with over 32,700 enrolments in 2017 (4% of total).
Malaysia is also an important source of tourists, with close to 400,000 visitors in 2017 worth A$1.3b. Tourism Australia expects this market could grow to A$2.4b by 2025.
In terms of foreign investment stocks, Malaysia is a small investor in Australia, owning a portfolio of A$21b in 2017 (0.7% of the total foreign investment stock). Australia’s largest investors remain traditional markets—the US with A$897b, and the UK with A$481b.
Malaysia also constitutes a small share of Australia’s investment abroad at A$9.6b or 0.4% of the total stock of outward investment in 2017.