What is Malaysia doing about stopping foreign investors preventing improvement of livelihood of Malaysians?
Senators yesterday approved the legislation to implement the agreement, which will lead to almost all Australian goods being able to enter Malaysia free of import duties, the Australian Associated Press reported.
The Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement will guarantee tariff-free entry for 97.6 percent of goods exported from Australia after it comes into force.
It will rise to 99 percent by 2017.
Malaysian exporters will enjoy duty-free entry to the Australian market.
The opposition backed this legislation with shadow attorney-general George Brandis saying it dated back to 2005 when former prime minister John Howard’s government launched the negotiations.
Brandis said Malaysia was Australia’s third largest trading partner in Asean and 10th largest partner overall with exports of A$5 billion and imports of A$9.1 billion in 2011-2012.
“Prominent Australian industries are set to benefit from this new trade agreement with Malaysia, including the Australian dairy industry,” he told the senate.
Brandis said other Australian industries set to gain from the trade agreement include the local automotive sector, wine, agriculture including sugar, wheat and rice, plastics, processed food, chemical and a range of manufactured goods.
Greens leader Christine Milne said the greens had a long-standing position that free trade agreements were not what they were cracked up to be.
“No matter how efficient an Australian farmer, they cannot compete against farmers in other economies if farmers in other economies don’t have to bear the cost of compliance with environmental laws and standards or compliance with labour standards.
“We cannot have free trade agreements in the future unless they take those things into account,” she added.
The senate passed the Customs Amendment (Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation and Other Measures) Bill 2012 and the Customs Tariff Amendment (Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2012.