Australia and Malaysia will remove trade barriers, increase collaboration between law-enforcement agencies, and ink a new cyber security deal as part of a decision to elevate relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership (CSP).

At a virtual meeting on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Malaysian counterpart, Muhyiddin Yassin, agreed the CSP would be underpinned by three areas of cooperation: economic prosperity; society and technology; and defence and regional security.

“With the CSP, we will expand our cooperation to new horizons to address today’s most pressing challenges, collaborating on economic recovery from COVID-19, economic growth, the digital economy, health, education and in new areas of science and innovation,” Morrison said.

“We will also increase our cooperation on strategic issues, including the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region, and strengthen our dialogue on maritime interests to support our shared vision for a peaceful, stable and prosperous region.”

Former prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Datuk Seri Najib Razak declared a strategic partnership in 2015. The countries have agreed to develop an action plan to guide the CSP, and will meet annually.

In 2019, one year after China stopped receiving much of the world’s waste, Malaysia announced it would send back 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste to Australia and other countries, with then environment minister Yeo Bee Yin declaring that “Malaysia will not be a dumping ground to the world”. Early last year Malaysia revealed it had returned 3,737 tonnes of waste to 13 countries, but Australia was not one of them.

According to a joint statement published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Morrison and Muhyiddin discussed environmental issues during their meeting, including waste.

“They agreed to explore cooperation on marine plastics, waste management and the circular economy,” the statement said.

“They acknowledged the importance of technology in responding to climate change and other environmental challenges, and agreed to continue to explore low emissions solutions. They also agreed to explore collaboration on emissions reporting and inventory arrangements, environmental monitoring and enforcement, climate science and bushfire mitigation measures.”

In regard to trade, the countries agreed to strengthen their partnership on agricultural trade to improve food security, “including through collaboration on halal standards, streamlining approvals for exporters and working towards the adoption of paperless trading”, the statement said.