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 2014.

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).

(October 2015)

Reuters | 8-Jul-2016
Spanish agriculture company Grupo Agroinsumos Ibero-americanos and associated firms have filed an arbitration case against Venezuela via a World Bank tribunal, seeking compensation for the 2010 nationalization of its operations.
The Guardian | 25-Apr-2016
Government ordered to pay compensation after Hugo Chávez nationalised British beef company’s landholdings.
Earth Institute | 17-Mar-2016
A new report from the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment explores the dilemmas posed by land investments under international investment treaties and human rights law.
Romania Journal | 29-Feb-2016
Brothers Viorel and Ioan Micula won the lawsuit against the Romanian state at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and were awarded USD 200 million in damages.
Diario UNO | 12-Feb-2016
Fondos de inversión como Gramercy Funds Management, presionan al Perú para cobrar bonos agrarios en soles de los años 60, por más de mil millones de dólares.
Bloomberg | 11-Jan-2016
Karuturi Global Ltd., one of the largest investors in Ethiopia’s farm industry, is challenging the termination of its project, claiming the government broke the terms of its agreement with the company.
IIED | 18-Dec-2015
The vast majority of the land deals from the recent wave of agribusiness investments in low and middle-income countries are protected by at least one investment treaty.
| 3-Dec-2015
The forced re-regulation of Queensland’s $2 billion sugar industry could breach international trade agreements and threaten foreign investment, Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said.
European Commission | 12-Nov-2015
As published by the European Commission

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