Agriculture & food

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism included in most trade and investment agreements gives foreign investors the right to challenge national laws and regulations related to agriculture and food, would these regulations represent an obstacle to their profits.

About 4% of all ICSID cases concerned agriculture, fishing and forestry issues as of end of 2019.

Most well-known cases include:

• Corn Products International (US) vs. Mexico: in 2009 US$58.4 million were awarded to the agribusiness producer of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – a derived sweetener linked to obesity. The investor challenged a government tax levied on beverages sweetened with HFCS (NAFTA invoked).

• Cargill (US) vs. Mexico: US$90.7 million awarded to the food-processing giant in 2009. The investor successfully challenged the abovementioned Mexican tax on HFCS (NAFTA invoked).

• Micula (Sweden) vs. Romania: US$250 million awarded to the multiple food-processing company in 2013, following the termination of incentives from the Romanian government in order to comply with EU law (Romania-Sweden BIT invoked).

(March 2020)

IISD | 27-Mar-2020
Magyar e Inicia afirmaron que Hungría había expropiado sus derechos de arrendamiento a las tierras tras una reforma del sector agrícola destinada a promover las explotaciones agrícolas familiares a expensas de las empresas agrícolas.
IISD | 27-Mar-2020
Magyar et Inicia ont affirmé que la Hongrie avait exproprié leurs droits de bail sur la terre, suite à une réforme du secteur agricole visant à promouvoir les exploitations familiales au détriment des entreprises agricoles.
IISD | 27-Mar-2020
Magyar and Inicia filed for arbitration against Hungary claiming expropriation of their leasehold rights to the land, following an agricultural sector reform to promote family farms over farming companies.
The Drinks Business | 11-Mar-2020
Romania has won the second lawsuit filed against it by brothers Ioan and Viorel Micula, who accused Romania of allowing the development of a black market for the sale of alcohol.
The Independent | 3-Mar-2020
The government has not ruled out imports of US agricultural products made to lower standards than in the UK.
Lexology | 21-Feb-2020
This is far from the end of the Micula story. Enforcement proceedings continue in the United States, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden, and there are questions before the CJEU.
Romania Insider | 16-Dec-2019
The Government took this decision to unlock the accounts of Romania’s air control company Romatsa, frozen by the Miculas.
The Hindu Business Line | 22-Oct-2019
Indian negotiators are in Bangkok trying to insert crucial provisions in the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact.
People Dispatch | 21-Oct-2019
Negotiators representing 16 countries have been tasked with arriving at an agreement on the controversial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by October 19 but trade unions say the deal has grave consequences.
Lexology | 19-Sep-2019
A federal court in Washington, DC has recognized and enforced a US$331 million arbitral award against Romania under an intra-EU BIT—notwithstanding the objection of the European Commission that the award is incompatible with EU law.

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