Latin America

Latin American and Caribbean countries have signed almost 700 investment agreements. They have been targeted in almost 300 investor-state disputes.

Argentina has faced almost 62 ISDS cases, about 6% of all cases, making it the world’s most targeted state. Venezuela and Mexico have been among the ten most frequent respondents in the world, with 51 and 33 cases, respectively.

Many key cases such as Renco vs. Peru, Chevron vs. Ecuador or Pac Rim vs. El Salvador have originated in significant environmental damages caused by corporations. Philip Morris took an ISDS case against Uruguay over its anti-tobacco law.

Chile, Mexico and Peru are also party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with eight other Pacific Rim states. The TPP includes an investor-state dispute mechanism that undermines public-interest ‘safeguards’.

The most well-known cases ISDS cases in the region include:

Chevron (US) vs. Ecuador: For 26 years, Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, performed oil operations in Ecuador. Ecuadorian courts found that during that period the company dumped billions of gallons of toxic water and dug hundreds of open-air oil sludge pits in Ecuador’s Amazon, poisoning the communities of some 30,000 Amazon residents. After a legal battle spanning two decades, in November 2013, Ecuador’s highest court ordered the corporation to pay $9.5 billion to provide desperately needed clean-up and health care to afflicted indigenous communities. Chevron challenged the decisions produced by Ecuador’s domestic legal system before an ISDS tribunal. In 2018, the arbitration tribunal held that the $9.5 billion judgment was fraudulent, violated international public policy and should not be recognised or enforced by the courts of other States. The amount of the award has not been established yet. (Ecuador-United States BIT invoked)

Occidental Petroleum Corporation “Oxy” (US) vs. Ecuador: in 2012 Ecuador was ordered to pay US$1.77 billion to the investor, an oil exploration and production company, for breach of contract. Sentence was reduced to US$1 billion in November 2015 (Ecuador-United States BIT invoked).

Investors vs. Argentina: When Argentina froze its utility rates in response to its 2001-2002 financial crisis, it was hit by over 40 lawsuits from investors, including Suez & Vivendi (France), Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A (Spain) and Anglian Water (UK). The ISDS tribunal concluded that Argentina had breached the investors’ right to fair and equitable treatment. By 2014, the country had been ordered to pay a total of US$980 million (various BITs invoked).

Photo: Sairen42 / CC BY-SA 3.0

(April 2020)

CIAR Global | 26-Feb-2021
El largo recorrido de este conflicto parece no tener meta. El arbitraje entre Guatemala y TECO Guatemala Holdings LLC (TECO) añade otro capítulo a su línea del tiempo.
Semana | 19-Feb-2021
Informe de la Agencia de Defensa Jurídica del Estado. Ahora también se ganan más procesos. Este es el panorama de los más demandados.
UDAPT | 17-Feb-2021
Han pasado 10 años desde la sentencia de Lago Agrio, hasta el día de hoy la petrolera se niega a cumplir con la sentencia; y, a su vez optó por activar todo un sistema que garantiza impunidad a las Transnacionales.
UDAPT | 17-Feb-2021
Dix ans se sont écoulés depuis la sentence du Lago Agrio, et à ce jour, la compagnie pétrolière refuse toujours de se conformer à la sentence. Au contraire, elle a décidé d’activer tout un système qui garantit l’impunité des transnationales.
UDAPT | 17-Feb-2021
Ten years have passed since the judgment of Lago Agrio. Until today the oil company refuses to comply with the judgement; and, in turn, has chosen to activate a whole system that guarantees corporate impunity.
Korea Herald | 12-Feb-2021
SK Innovation is considering initiating international arbitration proceedings against the Peruvian government for blocking the company’s exit from Camisea Gas Project in Peru.
CIAR Global | 9-Feb-2021
El proyecto Camisea vuelve ser el centro y foco de un posible arbitraje.
CIAR Global | 8-Feb-2021
En 2020, el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias relativas a Inversiones (CIADI) registró el récord de 54 arbitrajes bajo las Reglas de Arbitraje en virtud del Convenio CIADI, tres al amparo del Reglamento del Mecanismo Complementario y uno bajo las Reglas de Conciliación del Convenio CIADI.
Lexology | 28-Jan-2021
Last year saw a wave of cases against Latin American states, driven in particular, but not exclusively, by a large number of claims filed against Peru, Colombia and Mexico. This wave is likely to continue in 2021.
CIAR Global | 26-Jan-2021
La compañía británica Vestey Group y Venezuela llegaron a un acuerdo por más de 100 millones de dólares para poner fin al largo arbitraje de inversiones que se inició en 2006 ante el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias relativas a Inversiones (CIADI).

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