Court Backs Tribunal Resolution of EU-Canada Trade Spats

(CN) – The European Court of Justice signed off Tuesday on the dispute-resolution provisions of Canada and the EU’s free-trade deal.

As noted in the ruling, the deal envisaged the creation of a tribunal and an appellate tribunal for now, and a multilateral investment tribunal later on, thus forming an Investment Court System (ICS). 

Worried that the protocol would intrude on exclusive jurisdiction of the the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice to interpret EU law, Belgium asked it to weigh in.

Answering that demand Tuesday, the court said that nothing in EU law precludes the creation of a tribunal, an appellate tribunal and, subsequently, a multilateral investment tribunal. 

“Since those tribunals stand outside the EU judicial system, they cannot have the power to interpret or apply provisions of EU law other than those of the CETA or to make awards that might have the effect of preventing the EU institutions from operating in accordance with the EU constitutional framework,” the ruling states, using an abbreviation for Canada and the EU’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

The ruling also says that the trade deal contains sufficient safeguards to ensure the independence of tribunal members.

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