• The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that the EU and Singapore Free Trade Agreement cannot take effect fully unless parliaments in all 28 member states approve it. In its widely awaited decision the ECJ ruled that two aspects of the Singapore agreement – portfolio investments and a dispute-settlement regime for investments – would require unanimous backing by member states. The verdict makes it more likely that any UK-EU free trade deal will have to be ratified by national and regional parliaments in the EU and could delay progress towards a UK-EU free trade deal during the Brexit negotiations. However, the ECJ added that the remainder of the agreement was the exclusive competence of the EU, a move that could make it easier to strike relatively narrow trade deals. Linklaters have commented that Britain would now want to consider whether to moderate its ambitions for a future UK-EU trade deal so as to secure agreement by qualified majority voting rather than unanimity. (BBC) (FT) The judgement of the ECJ is available here.
  • Open Britain, the pro-EU campaign group, has criticised Labour’s stance on trade after withdrawal as unachievable, after the party tilted towards a hard Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto made no mention of trying to keep Britain in the customs union, stating instead that Labour would focus on “retaining the benefits” of membership. (Independent)