Business / Economy

China-Australia FTA legislation to remain unchanged

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-13 13:58

CANBERRA  - The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) took a giant leap to garnering bipartisan support in Australia's parliament on Tuesday, with the Labor Party backing down from changes to the original legislation.

Australia's Shadow Trade Minister Penny Wong gained the support of the party's caucus to not change the wording of the FTA, and instead will seek to introduce non-discriminatory changes to the Migration Act in conjunction with the government.

The suggested change, which if passed will apply to all future business deals Australia agrees on with global traders, will test the effectiveness of local workers on major projects commissioned on Australian soil by international companies worth $110 million or more.

If the output of Australia's Labor does not meet the demand, international workers could replace them.

Previously, under a memorandum between China and Australia, Chinese companies could import their own workers if the project was worth $110 million or more.

Senator Wong told the caucus the changes would protect Australia's skilled tradesman.

Before Labor's announcement, International Development Minister Steve Ciobo said the Australian government had never considered a compromise on the core components of the FTA.

"There is absolutely no plans (for compromise), we haven't even seen anything from the Labor Party," Ciobo told the News Corp earlier Tuesday.

The historic agreement is set to be debated in Australia's Upper House, the Senate, on Nov 9 this year.

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