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In brief: EU intends to launch ICS talks with Singapore


The EU aims to reopen negotiations with Singapore on their bilateral free trade agreement in the coming two months.

The Commission wants to introduce the EU’s new investment court system and align the text with those set in the EU’s recently enacted CETA deal with Canada and with the EU Vietnam free trade agreement concluded in 2015.

The EU Singapore FTA was concluded in 2014, before the EU started overhauling investment arbitration in trade agreements following a public backlash against ‘ISDS’.

The Singapore pact is also being reviewed by the European Court of Justice. The Court is expected to help determine in the coming weeks whether the agreement is mixed or falls under the exclusive competence of the EU. The ruling would enable the EU to initiate the ratification process for the deal.

“One thing that also will be done in parallel waiting for the opinion is the fact that the 2014 investment protection is no longer up to date with how the EU policy on that has developed since”, said Filip Deraedt, a DG Trade official today. 

“We now have an agreement with Singapore that the easiest way and politically cleanest way, despite Singapore’ initial reluctance to do so, is to reopen the agreement and replace those 2014 provisions [on investment dispute settlement] with the new, up to date, ones. That is work that we hope to start in the coming two months”, Deraedt added.

Trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström will visit Singapore on 8 March 2016 and will discuss the FTA and its update with her counterparts.


This article was prepared with input from Hermine Donceel.