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The TPP-11 is now signed. Fierce crossbench hostility to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal could force the Turnbull government to make concessions to Labor over prioritising Australian workers in order to get the deal through parliament. While Trade Minister Steven Ciobo and counterparts from 10 other countries signed what is now known as the TPP-11 on Friday morning, Parliament will need to pass enabling legislation to implement the pact.


Financial Refiew: Now that the TPP is signed, it will be tabled and referred to Parliament's joint committee on treaties. It will hold an inquiry and the enabling legislation or amendments will be prepared. Tariff cuts will only take place once the legislation passes both the House of Representatives and Senate and the ratification process is complete.

History suggests approval is likely because no Labor nor Liberal opposition has voted against a free trade deal. But with Labor's union base objecting to the TPP and Bill Shorten taking a distinctive protectionist line by promising to triple anti-dumping penalties, the government faces uncertain negotiations.

Labor and unions remains concerned over a lack of labour market testing for companies that want to bring in foreign workers, while the continued presence of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses is also a bugbear.

Opposition trade spokesman Jason Clare said Labor backed high-quality trade deals that were good for Australian jobs.

"The deal has only been signed overnight. If it's a good deal for Australia of course we'll back it," he said.

"There are things we would do differently. This agreement waives labour market testing for another six countries. That means that companies can bring in foreign workers without first checking if there's an Australian who could do the job.

"That's not fair. Labor will seek to fix that in government."

During negotiations over the China FTA, the government agreed to three Labor measures that would protect local workers.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong repeated the call for the government to conduct independent modelling of the revised TPP after the USA's withdrawal but recognised the benefits went beyond economics.

"There is an additional strategic benefit to the countries of the region, particularly at this time, coming together to engage in these sorts of arrangements," she said.

"It is the case that co-operation on trade, co-operation on economic prosperity is a good thing for peace and stability."

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