CANBERRA, Aug 20 – Malaysia welcomes the review of the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) but any effort to do so will only be considered after the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have been concluded.
Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Darell Leiking said MAFTA had benefited businesses, investors and consumers through the reduction and elimination of tariffs and increased access for trade and investment.
“It has also allowed open market access to various industries and services in both our countries,” he said at the 18th Australia-Malaysia Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting with Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Senator Simon Birmingham here today.
He said Malaysia, therefore, welcomed the review of MAFTA but priority is being given in concluding the multilateral RCEP.
“Since both parties are currently negotiating RCEP towards its conclusion by the end of this year, we may consider having the review only after RCEP is concluded,” he said.
He added that both parties must also have clear objectives and parameters if such a review is going to be taken.
Both ministers also directed officials to convene the Joint Commission of the bilateral Malaysia-Australia FTA early next year to take stock of the bilateral trade and investment issues including the parameters for a future general review of MAFTA.
During the meeting, a few issues faced by Malaysian and Australian companies were raised including market access and mutual recognition of standards.
Darell seeks cooperation from Australia to recognise and accept the Good Manufacturing Practice certificates issued by the Malaysian National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and would welcome collaboration between NPRA and Australian Therapeutic Good Administration.
“With regards to the issue of standards, we hope Australia will consider Malaysia’s request to have mutual recognition agreements for standards,” he said.
The minister said the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) has also been working closely with the Australian Government through the Halal Task Force Working Group.
“We welcome collaboration between Malaysia and Australia in tapping into the global halal market which is estimated to be worth more than US$2.3 trillion (US$1=RM4.18), with the halal food sector alone estimated to be worth nearly US$700 million,” he said.
He also reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to ensure the country remained an open economy and friendly to businesses, including Australian investors.
He said the business community is encouraged to partner with the government to improve the business environment.
Meanwhile, Darell had also touched on the RCEP, requesting all parties involved in the negotiations to demonstrate flexibilities with the guiding principle that RCEP is ASEAN-driven.
“It is critical to deliberate and decide on outstanding issues from Jakarta round onwards that are critical to some governments for them to announce conclusion of negotiations in November,” he said.
On Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Darell said Malaysia as the host in 2020 would be delivering the key message of “Shared Prosperity” that would be embraced in all the priority areas and initiatives carried out in the hosting year.
He said this would be done through emphasis on “Shared Responsibility”.
“The message underscores the need to address the unequal distribution of economic growth between and within the APEC economies in the age of digital disruption,” he said.
He said the enablers in the form of priority areas have been narrowed down to three broad areas, namely improving the narrative of trade and investment, inclusive economic participation through digital economy and technology, and driving innovative sustainability.
On the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Darell said Malaysia is still evaluating the agreement and that the country do not have a specific date for ratification.
He said the new government has also yet to decide on whether Malaysia would ratify the agreement.
RCEP is a multilateral trade agreement between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and its six FTA partners — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
The agreement would encompass 30 per cent of global gross domestic product, 3.5 billion people and eclipse the CPTPP.
Last year, Australia was Malaysia’s 11th largest overall global trading partner, with total trade between both countries recorded at RM55.13 billion.
In terms of investments, 350 manufacturing projects were implemented with total investments of RM2.79 billion, creating 22,626 jobs in Malaysia in key manufacturing sectors such as chemical-based products, petroleum-based products and rubber-based products.
Source: Malay Mail
KUALA LUMPUR: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking will lead a trade and investment mission to Australia from August 19 - 23.
The mission comprises officials from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii), InvestKL Corporation and EXIM Bank.
In a statement today, MITI said Darell is scheduled to meet with Andrew Barr, Chief Minister of Australian Capital Territory in Canberra.
In conjunction with the mission, the 18th Joint Trade Commission (JTC) Meeting will be held on August 20, to be co-chaired by Darell and his counterpart, Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment.
The meeting will be held to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues and opportunities for further collaborations.
Darell and the delegates will also be visiting the University of South Australia (UniSA), Mawson Lakes Campus to gain an insight on UniSA Industry 4.0 Lab Space and MARii’s projects – the Light Weight Plastic Glazing Project and the Hard Coating Project (flow coating).
Additionally, the minister will be visiting the Swinburne University of Technology’s Advanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Hub, also known as the ‘Factory of the Future’ for being the first ever fully-immersed Industry 4.0 facility in Australia.
He will also be meeting with prominent business groups in sectors such as food and beverages, healthcare, machinery, Halal hub and aged care centre.
During his visit, Darell will connect with strategic partners during a seminar on ‘Business & Investment Opportunities in Malaysia as the Gateway to Asean’.
In 2018, Australia was Malaysia’s 11th largest overall global trading partner, with total trade between both countries recorded at RM55.13 billion (US$13.11 billion).
Malaysia’s exports to Australia stood at RM33.55 billion (US$7.98 billion) and imports at RM21.58 billion (US$5.13 billion) last year.
In terms of investments, 350 manufacturing projects were implemented with total investments of RM2.79 billion (US$660 million).
The projects created 22,626 jobs in Malaysia in key manufacturing sectors such as chemical-based products, petroleum-based products and rubber-based products.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan Government has officially announced that it has renewed Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s operating licence for six months but subject to certain conditions.
In a statement today, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (LPTA) announced that the decision came after a public statement made by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the Cabinet had decided to extend the company’s licence.
Amongst the terms and conditions is a requirement that Lynas come up with a plan to build a “Cracking and Leaching” facility overseas so that the company can move the process — currently being done at Gebeng, Kuantan — there.
Overseas Cracking and Leaching facilities must be constructed and commenced within four years from the date the licence is renewed on Sept 3, 2019.
“After the overseas Cracking and Leaching facility commences operation, the licence holder will not be allowed to produce radioactive residual of more than one Becquerel per gram at its plant in Gebeng, Kuantan,” LPTA said.
LPTA also said Lynas is required to identify a specific site within the country to build a Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF), and obtain written approval from the relevant State Government for the site to be used as a PDF.
“The licensee must also submit a complete PDF construction plan as well as a financing plan to cover the entire construction and operation of the PDF, or submit a formal written permission from the relevant authority of any country allowing it to ship the residual Water Leach Purification (WLP) to the said country.”
LPTA said Lynas is required to terminate all research and development (R&D) activities related to the recycling of WLP radioactive residual as Condisoil in the agriculture sector industry.
It is also required to surrender to the Federal government 0.5% of its annual gross sales (previously a fixed expenditure for R&D) as additional collateral until the overseas Cracking and Leaching facility begins operation.
“These terms were decided after the Federal Government of Australia and the State Government of Western Australia informed Malaysia that they would not accept the return of Lynas’ radioactive WLP residues,” it said.
LTPA said the above terms are also based on the recommendations made by the Lynas Advance Materials Plant Executive Review Committee on Operations in its November 2018 report.
“PDF construction needs to be accelerated to minimize the risk of accumulating WLP radioactive residues now exceeding 580,000 tonnes at residue storage facilities (RSFs), which are vulnerable to threats of natural disaster such as floods.
“The LPTA will closely monitor and ensure the construction and operation of the PDF is in accordance with international standards,” it pledged.
Source: The Edge Markets
The magazine revealed that they based the rankings on 11 different factors, which include workforce, freedom (personal, trade, and monetary), technological readiness, infrastructure, quality of life, corruption, taxes, investor protection and red tape, reported The Sun Daily.
Among 67 countries evaluated, Malaysia appeared to be the most attractive destination for business people and investors.
Poland came in second, while the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia followed.
Meanwhile, Singapore placed sixth, followed by India, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Thailand. Earning the 16th, 18th, 24th, and 32nd spots were the UK, US, China and Japan.
CEOWORLD magazine annually ranks the world based on different categories ranging from the best universities to the richest people, top executives and top companies.
IPOH, July 10 — Malaysia has been crowned the best country to invest in or start a business this year, according to the CEOWORLD Magazine.
CEOWORLD Magazine reported on its website that Malaysia ranked first among 67 countries as it continues to be the most attractive destination for investors and businessmen.
“The rankings were based on 11 different factors, including corruption, freedom (personal, trade, and monetary), workforce, investor protection, infrastructure, taxes, quality of life, red tape, and technological readiness,” the report read.
“Each category was equally weighted,” the report added.
Poland took silver, followed by the Philippines with bronze, while Indonesia and Australia settle for the fourth and fifth place respectively.
“The rankings had Singapore in sixth place, followed by India, Czech Republic, Spain, and Thailand.
“The United Kingdom, the United States, China, and Japan ranked 16th, 18th, 24th, and 32nd, respectively, among the world’s best countries to invest in or do business for 2019,” the post further read.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — Western Australia signed yesterday a multi million-ringgit deal with leading low-cost airline AirAsia X aimed at invigorating the Australian state’s struggling tourism sector, the Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday.
The paper said the marketing deal is meant to encourage holiday-makers in Malaysia, China, India and Japan to visit WA by promoting cheap airfares in print, television, radio, cinema and online advertising.
The move was part of a A$12 million (RM34.4 million) international marketing push by the Australian state government, and is expected to attract more than 29,000 new visitors.
“This deal with AirAsia X will provide that in some of our important markets such as Malaysia, India, China and Japan,” WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia was quoted as saying.
“Growing tourism is key to the state government's plan to diversify the economy, create jobs and develop business opportunities.
“It is the biggest international marketing push in the state's history and we hope to see thousands more people come to WA as a result of this surge in activity.”
Papalia announced the deal at the airline's headquarters in Sepang, Selangor yesterday, during which he said low airfares were a strong drawcard for travellers.
Last month, Australian daily WAtoday reported extensively on the struggles of the state's tourism sector, with the industry raising alarm over the declining number of leisure tourists to WA.
Experts had warned the falling numbers of international students were partially to blame, as WA was missing out on the friends and relatives international students traditionally brought to the state.
SEPANG: The Western Australia state government, through its tourism agency, Tourism Western Australia, has announced an expanded cooperative marketing agreement with leading low-cost airline, AirAsia in Malaysia yesterday.
Announced by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia at AirAsia’s global headquarters, RedQ, the agreement aims to further promote the State’s tourism highlights in markets such as Malaysia, India, China and Japan.
The deal, worth A$1 million (RM2.87 million), has the potential to bring thousands of holidaymakers to the state.
The agreement will see joint marketing campaigns developed to promote affordable flights to Western Australia, including flight deals, print, television, radio, cinema and online advertising.
The deal forms part of the expanded A$12 million (RM34 million) international marketing boost announced by Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan and Papalia in March to grow the State’s visitor economy.
It is hoped the combined campaign activity in Malaysia alone will generate more than 29,000 visitors.
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
“We know that well promoted low-cost air fares are a strong drawcard for people to visit Western Australia and this deal with AirAsia will provide that in some of our important markets such as Malaysia, India, China and Japan.
“Malaysia is Western Australia’s second biggest source of overseas visitors, so we know Malaysians love what Western Australia has to offer.
“This cooperative marketing agreement will not only encourage more Malaysians to visit the State but the marketing activity in connecting markets of India, China and Japan will help entice holidaymakers from those markets as well.
“Growing tourism is key to the State Government’s plan to diversify the economy, create jobs and develop business opportunities.
“Increasing the number of people travelling here from overseas will help achieve those objectives, which is why we committed an extra A$12 million (RM34 million) to Tourism Western Australia’s international marketing activity.
“It is the biggest international marketing push in the State’s history and we hope to see thousands more people come to Western Australia as a result of this surge in activity.”
Speaking on the expanded partnership, AirAsia X Malaysia chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail said: “We are excited to take our partnership with Tourism Western Australia to new heights and, through this new marketing agreement, grow demand for air travel from markets such as Malaysia, India, China and Japan.
“Since we began flying to Western Australia in November 2008, we’ve carried more than three million guests on Kuala Lumpur-Perth, Bali-Perth and our latest route between Lombok and Perth, which was launched last month. In 2018, AirAsia carried more than 585,000 guests to and from Western Australia.
“Demand for Perth and greater Western Australia is evident and the continuous support from Tourism Western Australia will enable us to push the envelope in terms of tourist arrivals through joint marketing efforts in Malaysia, India, China and Japan, where our route network is the strongest.”
To celebrate the announcement, AirAsia is offering fares from as low as RM299 one-way on standard seats and 20 per cent off its award-winning Premium Flatbed for flights between Kuala Lumpur and Perth. These low fares are available for booking on airasia.com or the AirAsia mobile app from now until July 7, 2019.
The signing follows the successful launch of Tourism Western Australia’s Muslim Travel Guide. The guide features stunning road trip routes, itineraries, must-visit attractions, restaurants and Muslim-friendly facilities in the state.
Source : Borneo Post Online
In 13 years, family-owned AGRIFresh has become Western Australia’s largest citrus grower, packer and exporter. Australia’s wide-ranging Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are helping the company expand its global presence.
Joseph Ling, Co-Founder and Managing Director of AGRIFresh, describes himself as a farmer at heart.
Driven by a commitment to producing high-quality fruit and sharing the ‘freshness of Western Australia’ – this farmer and his team have built the company into one of the state’s most important citrus players.
AGRIFresh grows oranges, mandarins, lemons and mangoes on what was once a mixed grain and sheep farm 200 kilometres north of Perth.
The family-owned business, which has 200,000 trees across two properties, supplies fresh citrus to the domestic market as well as 11 other countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Canada, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
In 2017–18, AGRIFresh’s export sales grew by 80 per cent. Ling says Australia’s FTAs have helped the company enormously by giving its products preferential access to overseas markets.
Since the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) entered into force in 2015, the tariff on oranges has gradually reduced from the initial level of 11 to 4.9 per cent in 2019, and it will be eliminated by 2023.
‘The ChAFTA made a huge difference to our industry, for sure.’ Ling says.
AGRIFresh also exports to Indonesia with the help of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which saw the tariff of 5 per cent on oranges eliminated in 2013.
‘Everybody loves a bargain, including our buyers,’ Ling says.
‘We know we’ve got a good product already but if we can compete at the price point in overseas markets with the help of FTA tariff reductions, then immediately we’ve got orders.’
Ling is also looking to new opportunities in Japan under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA), and the Philippines and Vietnam under AANZFTA.
‘We have made a lot of trade visits to Japan and reverse trade visits so they understand what we do, that we’ll comply and that we understand how to meet their demands,’ Ling says.
‘There’s a little more work to be done with the Philippines and Vietnam but those countries are important to us.
‘While China takes most of our premium produce, we do have other products, different oranges for example, that are of interest to other countries. So, we have to open our net a little bit wider.’
Starting out in 2005, Ling planned to produce quality fruit for Australian consumption but a few years in, he realised the export potential.
‘The first five years was all about getting trees into the ground, figuring out how to get the best yield per hectare,’ he explains.
‘The second five years was about restructuring and repositioning ourselves for the international market.
‘We changed our business structure through organic growth and some acquisition. Then we tried markets like Hong Kong and Singapore just to get our feet wet, to figure out how to export something in a really, really small volume.’
The company started with eight and now has a permanent team of 20 staff. During the season, this number increases to more than 80 staff.
‘When you start to tap into the export market, when orders start coming, you’ve got to be prepared to get your capacity right,’ Ling says.
The company actively embraces innovative technologies to minimise costs and maximise efficiencies in the value chain.
‘We expanded our production base very quickly, increased our packing facility from 4,000 square metres to 8,000 square metres and got in new equipment up to international standards,’ he says.
‘We also had to set up new offices and distribution models for exporting.
‘We’re exporting about 100-plus containers, but we’ve positioned ourselves to do 600 containers a year in about four to five years’ time.’
Ling believes one of the keys to success is teaming up with the right partner because each country has a different way of doing things.
‘It’s probably the biggest challenge,’ he says.
‘In the early stages we used Austrade to make the initial introductions. They were instrumental because they were there on the ground and knew all the people in the trade that you could trust.
‘We’ve always had this idea that you have to go on a number of dates before you kiss. Always remember that these guys are representing your brand.’
He admits it takes time.
‘The gestation period for some countries and customers is one or two years. You can’t go in there in a rush because it’s going to be very painful if you make a mistake,’ Ling says.
‘ I think the opportunity overseas is enormous, however, and we will continue to push that line.’
Source : Mirage News
SINGAPORE: Leading international property and infrastructure group, Lendlease, has announced a partnership to invest in data centres across the Asia Pacific region.
The partnership will be funded 20 per cent by Lendlease and 80 per cent by a large institutional investor. The initial equity commitment by the parties is US$500 million, combined with leverage will enable the partnership to invest US$1 billion in the sector. Completed assets and new development opportunities will be targeted across Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore — all markets in which Lendlease has a significant presence.
Lendlease’s integrated capability across development, construction and investment is well placed to execute on the significant growth forecast for the data centre sector. Accordingly, Lendlease has been appointed as development, construction, property and investment manager for the partnership.
Lendlease’s CEO Asia Tony Lombardo said, “A data centre platform is a strategic fit for the Group, aligning with our targeted key trend of infrastructure, our telecommunications strategy and our integrated business model. This partnership will enable us to leverage our track record of project managing, designing and building data centres with the strong growth potential for this sector, which is evolving into a mainstream real estate asset class.”
Commencement of the partnership is subject to the relevant regulatory approvals.
Source: Business Insider Singapore
KUALA LUMPUR: Years of promoting Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) as the city’s premier location will finally see the city’s financial centre welcoming its first tenant.
British insurance company Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd (PAMB) will be leaving Menara Prudential in Jalan Sultan Ismail to enter what has been promoted as the regional financial centre TRX “soon”, according to a statement from PAMB.
“TRX is a world-class and exciting commercial development. It meets our requirements for a strategic location, good infrastructure and transportation connectivity that is convenient to our people, including our employees and customers,” said a statement from PAMB.
The statement said three other business units of Prudential plc – Prudential BSN Takaful, Eastspring Investments Bhd and Prudential Services Asia – will also be moving to TRX. Prudential plc is headquartered in Britain.
An industry source said while the move has already started, the insurance company would take a month or thereabouts to be operational from TRX starting July.
The insurance company will occupy between 70% and 80% of what is currently loosely known as Menara Prudential 2. The TRX building is also known as Menara Prudential. The remaining office space has been leased.
The developer of TRX’s RM500mil Menara Prudential is IJM Construction Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IJM Corp Bhd, the building owner.
Menara Prudential is a Grade A, LEED Gold-certified and MSC-status office building with a gross floor area of 560,000 sq ft.
IJM Construction is also developing the RM505mil Affin Bank Bhd HQ and HSBC HQ, excluding lifts and facade works for RM392mil, according to Bursa filings.
Other than Menara Prudential, the other building expecting its first tenant by the end of this year is Mulia Group’s Exchange 106, which offers super prime office space of higher specifications than Grade A space, in the TRX district.
Because of the weak office market and the over supply of office space, the source said Exchange 106’s rental rate is likely to go down to below RM10 per sq ft (psf).
As a comparison, a Grade A building in the city used to command a range between RM7 and RM8 psf several years ago which means super prime space should command a higher rental.
Another industry source said super grade buildings, which is of a higher category than Grade A buildings, have a cost of construction which is about double that of Grade A buildings.
The cost of construction for a Grade A building is about RM1,000 psf on a net lettable area basis.
When the rent is between RM7 and RM8 psf, the building owner just about break even, the source said.
Without naming any buildings, the source said some of the buildings in TRX may be closer to the RM2,000 psf category. So they should be getting RM15 psf and not below RM10 psf.
Office rental rates in Kuala Lumpur business district fell again in the first three months of 2019, the sixth consecutive quarter fall, property consultancy Knight Frank said in its Asia-Pacific Prime Office Rental Index 1Q2019.
Office rental growth in Kuala Lumpur dropped by 1.4% compared with a year ago. Against October-December 2018, it fell 0.3%, the report said.
TRX is a 70-acre development earmarked to be the region’s financial centre. Exchange 106 will have 2.8 million sq ft of net lettable space.
HSBC and Affin buildings are scheduled to be completed next year.
The other feature in TRX is Australian property and infrastructure group Lendlease’s 17-acre mixed integrated development known as The Exchange.
The retail mall is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2021.
Source: The Star
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