Free trade agreement with Singapore cannot be concluded by EU alone: ECJ
BRUSSELS, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Tuesday said that the free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Singapore cannot be concluded without the participation of the EU member states, which would have significant implications on its trade policy as a whole.
The Luxembourg court said it was because some of the provisions envisaged fall within competences shared between the EU and the Member States.
"The provisions of the agreement relating to non-direct foreign investment and those relating to dispute settlement between investors and States do not fall within the exclusive competence of the EU," the ECJ said in a statement.
It was European Commission itself submitted a request to ECJ for an opinion to determine whether the EU has exclusive competence enabling it to sign and conclude the agreement.
The EU and Singapore initialed the text of a free trade agreement in 2013.
It is one of the first "new generation" bilateral free trade agreements which contains, provisions on various matters related to trade, such as intellectual property protection, investment, public procurement, competition and sustainable development, in addition to the classical customs reduction provisions.