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Australian FTA with Malaysia to be signed today

According to media reports, the Australian Trade Minister is to sign a free trade agreement with Malaysia later today.

As many would be aware, Australia and New Zealand already have a free trade agreement with the ASEAN group of nations (“ASEAN FTA”) which includes Malaysia. Accordingly, the separate FTA with Malaysia (“MAFTA”) will constitute an enhancement to the existing ASEAN FTA.

According to the media report, the MAFTA intends to guarantee tariff-free entry of 97.6% for all Australian goods, rising to 99% by 2017. The MAFTA will only be Australia’s 6th bilateral FTA and its completion will represent the welcome completion of a deal at the same time of slow progress on negotiations on other FTA with China, South Korea and Japan. The hope is that it may expedite those deals.

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