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A Growing Partnership: Western Australia & Malaysia

Western Australia and Malaysia have for many years enjoyed a close and diverse relationship. WA is continuing to expand its relationship with Asia, given the long-term growth prospects of the region and its proximity to key markets in Asia. Eight of WA’s top 10 largest trading partners are now based in Asia.

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Australia and Malaysia are both committed member countries of the Commonwealth. As the host state for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2011, WA will provide an ideal forum to promote trade and investment, shared values and people-to-people links with Malaysia and the other Commonwealth countries.

WA already shares strong people-to-people links with Malaysia. The 2006 Census recorded nearly 20,000 Malaysian-born people in WA. Malaysia is WA’s fourth-largest international tourism market, with 63,000 Malaysian visitors in 2010-11. The country is also WA’s third-largest source of international student enrolments, with 4,200 enrolments in 2010.

WA businesses in Malaysia operate in the key sectors of education, agri-food and resources. WA is well-positioned in these sectors as it is a premier destination for international students, hosting five world-class universities; a safe and reliable supplier of high quality agricultural products to Asia, hosting a number of unique greenfield investment opportunities; and with
a leading mineral and petroleum industry.

The mineral and petroleum industry in WA continues to drive the Australian economy and contributed 46 per cent of Australia’s merchandise exports in 2010-11. During the same period, the value of WA’s resource sales reached a record A$102 billion.

WA’s merchandise trade with Malaysia has centred on the export of mainly agricultural and resource commodities, and the import of manufactured goods and resource commodities. Non-monetary gold features prominently in both exports and imports due to the state’s role in refining gold, while two-way trade in crude petroleum reflects the significant petroleum sectors in both WA and Malaysia.

In 2010-11, WA exported $4.5 billion worth of agricultural products. Malaysia is one of WA’s top ten agricultural export markets, with exports valued at $135 million. Wheat is the largest of these exports, valued at approximately $78 million.

The Malaysian and WA governments entered into a memorandum of understanding to develop agricultural cooperation in December 2005. The Malaysian Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) and the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) have been collaborating on industry development activities for livestock. The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and Landgate/DAFWA are also working on 
a precision agriculture project.

A sister city relationship between the City of Rockingham and the City of Kota Kinabalu (the capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah) was signed in November 2006. In April 2009, the Sabah-WA Trade Centre opened to support and promote commercial links between Perth’s south-west corridor region and Kota Kinabalu. Potential areas of opportunity from this relationship are in defence and maritime-related industry cooperation, tourism, education and training, and local government processes.

The government of WA supports the strengthening of economic, political and social links with Malaysia. The Western Australia Trade and Investment Office was established in Kuala Lumpur in April 1994 to facilitate and provide pathways to increased trade and investments. WA business representatives visiting Malaysia are encouraged to contact the Kuala Lumpur office for in-market assistance. 

For more information, advice and assistance about trade and investment between WA and Malaysia, contact:


Nathan Backhouse

Director, International Trade and Investment 

Department of State Development

tel +61 8 9222 0461

fax +61 8 9222 0505

email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Verghese Jacob, Regional Director

Western Australian Trade Office

tel +603 2031 8175

fax +603 2031 8177

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