Global Launch of the International Trade and Investment Masterplan and Position Paper

Malaysia and Australia have a strong and enduring national bond that goes beyond their geographical proximity. Both countries share common values, interests, and aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous region. There is close cooperation on a range of issues, such as trade, security, education, tourism, and culture. They also support each other in times of need, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic and the bushfires in Australia. The friendship between Malaysia and Australia is based on mutual respect and understanding, and is cherished by both peoples.

Next year will mark 70 years of Australia’s diplomatic presence in Malaysia. The Malaysia-Australia relationship continues to grow, based on mutual respect and common interests, as two mid-sized democracies and open trading nations in the Indo-Pacific region. In January 2021, prime ministers from both countries elevated the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). The CSP commits leaders to meet annually and is underpinned by three streams of cooperation: economic prosperity; society and technology; and defence and regional security. Under the CSP, Australia and Malaysia will expand cooperation on economic recovery and growth, health, education, and the digital economy, as well as in new areas of science and innovation. The prime ministers committed to increase cooperation on strategic and maritime issues to support a secure and stable Indo-Pacific region.

In February 2023, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Senator the Honourable Penny Wong, travelled to Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) – a region with longstanding ties to Australia and the region from which the Foreign Minister hails. Foreign Minister Wong reaffirmed Australia’s commitment as Malaysia’s Comprehensive Strategic Partner, discussed economic recovery, climate action, education ties and health security. The visit showcased deep and enduring friendship of the two nations.

In March 2024, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim made an official visit to Australia to cement diplomatic ties between Malaysia and Australia and laid the groundwork for collaborative endeavours that promise a more prosperous and progressive future for both countries.

Australia’s economic and trade relationship with Malaysia is strong and mature. In 2021, Malaysia was Australia’s second largest trading partner among ASEAN Member States and ninth largest partner overall. Both nations share a common interest in a free and open trading system, exemplified in the following free trade agreements:


  • Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA)
  • ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA)
  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
  • Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

A key measure to accelerate investments to maximise flow of capital and funding partnerships between the two countries, to enable industries to raise finance and capital where it is most efficient and effective. Before the global financial crisis, the Malaysian cash rate was half of Australia, on average. As of publication date, Australia’s rate is 135 basis points (43%) higher than Malaysia.

Download the International Trade and Investment Masterplan and Position Paper here