Australia

Labor criticised for supporting TPP deal

Labor says the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact will boost Australia's national income by $15.6 billion by 2030, but a union wants the party to dump it.

A massive Pacific trade deal will boost Australia's national income by $15.6 billion by 2030 and benefit all sectors, Labor says.

Opposition trade spokesman Jason Clare told parliament on Thursday independent economic analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership shows that while it doesn't benefit all sectors equally, no sectors would be worse off.

Mr Clare says independent economic analysis commissioned by the Victorian Labor government, as well as business groups such as the Minerals Council, show the deal would also increase exports by $29.9 billion and lift investment in Australia by $7.8 billion.

"There's agreement it will provide relatively modest benefits in the short-term, with potential for more significant economic gains in the long-term if more countries in the region sign up," he said.

The trade deal now includes 11 countries after the US withdrew its support under President Donald Trump, a move which Labor says has reduced the economic benefits by 25 per cent.

Labor supports the deal, but disagrees with provisions which allow workers from Canada, Peru, Mexico, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam to be employed in Australia without first checking if a local could do the job.

"It's not protectionism, it's common sense to check it first," Mr Clare told parliament.

Labor also opposes investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, and Mr Clare argued the the only ISDS provision, with Canada, could be dealt with if Labor wins government.

He says independent economic analysis of the trade deal provides Australians with more honesty.

"It doesn't over-hype the potential benefits or the potential impact of an agreement like this," he said.

"But it does show a positive impact and that's important given the scepticism that a lot of people have about deals like this."

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Paul Bastian said the deal would be a disaster for local workers.

Supporting the deal was a breach of Labor policy, he said, especially the way in which it allowed an easier flow of foreign workers into the country.

Greens MP Adam Bandt also criticised Labor for supporting the trade pact, saying it would hurt both local and foreign workers.

"The Labor party stands condemned today. No matter what their policy is, they will vote for big business every time," he told parliament on Thursday.

Nationals MP Keith Pitt says the deal will provide economic security and prevent a situation similar to the trade war between the US and China.

The pact would help drive the economy, with one quarter of economic growth relying on trade, he added.

Independent MP Bob Katter is livid at the government for its support of free trade, saying it has destroyed industries in Australia because local products can't compete with cheaper imports.

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