May 16, 2017 / 10:44 AM / 3 months ago

EU Commission says welcomes court ruling on trade deals

An European Union (EU) flag is seen blowing in the wind in front of the city's regional state administration headquarters in central Kiev, Ukraine, May 11, 2017.Valentyn Ogirenko

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission welcomed the top EU court's ruling on Tuesday that clarified the approval process for the EU-Singapore free trade agreement in a legal ruling that will impact other future EU trade deals, such as with post-Brexit Britain.

The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday the proposed EU-Singapore deal required the ratification of all 28 EU countries, including scrutiny by more than 40 national and regional parliaments, because of some of its provisions on investment.

The Commission had argued that the approval of the trade deal should not require all the individual parliamentary approvals, as trade was an EU competence and that approval from EU governments and the European Parliament would suffice.

But the court said that while large parts of the proposed trade agreement, such as governing reduction of customs duties, public procurement and sustainable development, were exclusive EU competencies, others needed national parliament approval.

"The European Commission welcomes today's opinion of the European Court of Justice on the division of competences between the EU and the member states in the EU-Singapore trade agreement," the Commission said in a statement.

"The Commission will now carefully assess and analyse the opinion of the Court and will continue engaging with the European Parliament and member states on the way forward."

Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop

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