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Trade barriers

What should companies be aware of in terms of customs, patents, import regulations etc. when doing business in Malaysia. Below we provide guidelines and links to sources of information related to these subjects.

Customs and Duties

Malaysia has so-called Free Industrial Zones, which are areas that have been developed especially for production companies that wish to engage in export activities. The Free Industrial Zones make it possible for export companies to benefit from minimal customs formalities as well as duty free import of raw materials, parts and components, machinery and equipment required directly in the production process.

Patents, Brands and Rights

Malaysia is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and has furthermore signed the Paris and Bern conventions, and Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Patents

Patent applications may be filed directly by local citizens or residents in Malaysia. A foreign application can only be filed via a registered local patent agent acting on behalf of the applicant. The Malaysian Patent Act of 1983 ensures a protection period of 20 years from the date of filing a patent application.

Trade marks

Once a trademark has been registered, it is unlawful for individuals or corporations except the owner or authorized users to make use of it. The initial protection runs for a period of ten years, after which time it is eligible for renewal for periods of ten years at a time. 

Copyrights

The Copyright Act of 1987 provides comprehensive protection for copyrightable products. The act outlines the kind of works and products that qualify for copyright protection and the scope hereof. Computer software as well as music and literary works fall under this category, and there is no registration of copyright works.

Industrial design
Foreign applicants must cooperate with a registered industrial designs agent in order to register their creations. Industrial designs are initially protected for a period of five years, and the protection period may be extended with another two five-year terms.

Import regulations

Malaysia is a part of the ASEAN 'Common Effective Preferential Tariffs' (Cept) agreement. All industrial goods that are traded within ASEAN will be charged with import duty between 0-5%

In October 2010 Prime Minister Najib and the EU leaders launched two major EU-Malaysia bilateral initiatives, namely the negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and for the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). These two initiatives are respectively aimed at boosting bilateral trade and investment and at creating a new strategic dimension for the EU-Malaysia political dialogue and economic cooperation. Negotiations are still ongoing.

April 1st 2015 marked the start of the Malaysian Goods and Service Tax (GST).  The GST is imposed on goods and services at every stage of the supply chain including importation of goods. Read more here. 

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LINKS

Contact

Joakim Larsen
Deputy Head of Mission, Head of Commercial Section
Phone: +60 3 2032 2001–19
E-mail: joalar@um.dk


Nina Hvid Talvela
Ministry Counsellor Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Phone: +60 3 2032 2001-23
E-mail: nintal@um.dk


Shen Ho
Senior Commercial Advisor
Phone: +60 3 2032 2001–11
E-mail: shenho@um.dk

Jaime Yong
Commercial Advisor
Phone: +60 3 2032 2001–10
E-mail: jaiyon@um.dk