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ECJ ruling may help with Brexit, say business leaders

16 May 2017

EU flag in front of European Parliament

Welcoming the European Court of Justice’s ruling confirming the European Commission’s primary role in negotiating trade deals, Allie Renison, Head of EU and Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“This ruling will likely make it easier for the EU to conclude trade deals without fear of as many hold-ups from national and sub-national legislatures.

“While the Court confirmed that member states do have a role over aspects of investment, it parted with the earlier Advocate General’s opinion on a raft of important policy areas such as transport, labour and environmental standards, which it said are reserved for the EU executive when negotiating free trade agreements.

“This may mean a separation between trade and investment in future agreements. How this affects Brexit negotiations will depend on whether the final trade agreement includes investment provisions or not, although neither the UK or EU has expressed much interest in this to date.

“It’s important to remember that any eventual UK-EU trade agreement would not be about opening up each other’s markets in controversial areas, but trying to limit the amount of disruption to trade, and so it is unlikely to encounter the same resistance from other EU countries once concluded by the Commission.”

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