Malaysia was one of the WTO’s founding members in 1995 and its trade policy is to work towards creating a more liberalised and fair global trading environment. Malaysia has the following trade agreements:
- Six regional free trade agreements (FTAs) signed under the auspices of ASEAN with six countries individually, including China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand
- Seven bilateral FTAs with Japan, Pakistan, New Zealand, India, Chile, Australia and Turkey
- Ongoing FTA negotiations with the EU, ASEAN and Hong Kong and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is responsible for facilitating trade in Malaysia, and Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) is the agency responsible for clearance of import, export and transit related goods. Imports and exports are regulated under the Customs Act (1967).
Import and Export Requirements
Some products require a licence or Approved Permit (AP) before importing/exporting. These include motor vehicles, iron and steel, heavy machinery and chemicals. A full list of products requiring a licence can be found on the MITI website. Points to note about the AP process:
- APs are issued by Permit Issuing Agencies (PIAs), i.e. the relevant ministries relating to products being exported or imported. Contact details for relevant PIAs can be found on myTRADELINK, Malaysia’s trade facilitation portal.
- AP applications can be made via myTRADELINK through an electronic permit (ePermit).
- It takes between three and seven working days for an AP to be issued; once issued, it will be valid for 6 months.
- For all other products, no AP is required but import/export declarations should be submitted online through eDeclare on myTRADELINK. In addition, other supporting documents include invoice, packing list and Bill of Lading/Air Waybill.
A list of prohibited items can be found on the RMCD website.
Tariff Classification and Import/Export Duties
Malaysia adopts the Harmonised System (HS). All goods imported are liable for GST, unless specifically exempt, and all goods exported are zero‑rated for GST – further information can be found on the RMCD website.
The applicable rates are dependent on the origin of the goods and a certificate of origin will need to be presented. Further information on product origins can be found on the MITI website.
Approximately three quarters of Malaysia’s imports are duty free with the average duty at around 6%. Lower tariff rates are applicable for countries which Malaysia has a FTA in place and applicable rates can be found through the FTA Tariff Calculator on MITI website. The Customs Duties Order 2017 sets out all the rates applicable for countries in which there is no trade agreement is in place.
Almost all goods have zero export duties, with the exception of Malaysia’s main commodities (e.g. crude oil, palm oil). The applicable rates vary with the classification of the goods and range from 0% to 15%. Export duty rates can be found in the Customs Duties Order 2017.
Product Standards and Labelling Requirements
The Department of Standards Malaysia, under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, is responsible for providing guidance on product standards and labelling requirements.