Canada Free-Trade Deal With EU Gets OK From Magistrate

(CN) – A magistrate with the EU’s highest court threw his support Tuesday behind a 2016 free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. 

Key to proceedings here, Canada and the EU agreed as part of their deal to create a system by which investors and EU member states could settle disputes over the interpretation and application of the agreement.

The Investment Court System that this deal envisions would include a tribunal, an Appellate Tribunal and, in the longer term, a multilateral investment tribunal.

Belgium initiated the proceedings at issue before the European Court of Justice, however, because it questioned whether such a system would conflict with the exclusive jurisdiction of the court to interpret EU law.

Though the case will ultimately be decided by a chamber of the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice, Advocate General Yves Bot supported the trade deal Tuesday in a nonbinding opinion.

“I take the view that the investor-state dispute resolution system provided for in Section F of Chapter 8 of the CETA does not undermine the autonomy of EU law and, in particular, does not affect the principle that the court has exclusive jurisdiction over the definitive interpretation of EU law,” Bot wrote.

CETA is short for Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

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