Leading EU lawyer and former Commission official looks at UK’s post-Brexit free trade options

Former EU Commission director, and leading lawyer and academic, Dr John Temple Lang, looks at the UK’s post-Brexit free trade options, including the Single Market, Customs Union, EEA, WTO, and bespoke agreements. His paper is attached below.


House of Lords inquiry into post-Brexit competition policy

Maya Lester QC

The EU Internal Market Sub-Committee of the House of Lords has just launched an inquiry into UK competition policy after Brexit. The closing date for written submission is Friday 15 September 2017. The Sub-Committee is asking for written evidence on particular questions by 15 September 2017. Link to the questions here and form to submit answers here. It will hold oral evidence session in October. The Sub-Committee is chaired by Lord Whitty and its members are listed here.

The inquiry will explore:
• Opportunities and challenges in re-shaping UK competition policy post-Brexit;
• The implications of Brexit for the application and enforcement of competition law in the UK;
• Whether UK authorities have the capacity and resources to cope with additional responsibilities and a greater caseload;
• Potential state aid obligations in any UK-EU free trade agreement;
• Future cooperation between the UK and the EU on investigations and enforcement actions.

Parliament debates post-Brexit sanctions

The House of Commons is debating the implications of sanctions policy today. Debate pack of background material and details are here, and live feed on Parliament TV here.  This follows a public consultation on the future legal framework for imposing and implementing sanctions and the announcement of new sanctions legislation in the Queen’s Speech. Tomorrow the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee of the House of Lords will hear evidence as part of its inquiry into UK sanctions policy after Brexit, including from Maya Lester QC. Details here and coverage here.

EU trade deals and the death of Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement

Aidan Robertson QC

The EU is about to sign a free trade agreement with Japan and it has released, in the last few days, a short FAQ document. Usually such agreements included investor-state dispute resolution mechanisms such as UNCITRAL, ICSID, and so on. The EU’s policy on this is made clear on page 6 of the recent FAQ: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2017/july/tradoc_155684.PDF

“A new system – called the Investment Court System, with judges appointed by the two parties to the FTA and public oversight – is the EU’s agreed approach that it is pursuing from now on in its trade agreements. This is also the case with Japan. Anything less ambitious, including coming back to the old Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement, is not acceptable. For the EU ISDS is dead.”

Thus, even if the UK secures a trade deal with the EU, disputes will not (on the EU’s approach) go to UNCITRAL or ICSID or anywhere else but the Investment Court System that is outlined in the FAQ.