Latin America

Latin America countries have signed over 650 trade agreements. They have been the most targeted by investor-state disputes (ISDS). About 35% of all ICSID arbitration cases have involved a Latin American state.

Argentina itself has faced almost 60 ISDS disputes, about 9% of all cases, making it the most targeted state globally. Venezuela, Mexico and Ecuador have been among the ten most frequent respondents in the world.

Well-known cases such as Chevron vs. Ecuador or Pac Rim vs. El Salvador have originated in significant environmental damages caused by corporations. Philip Morris is currently suing Uruguay over its anti-tobacco law.

Besides, Chile, Mexico and Peru are party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with nine other Pacific Rim states. Its investment chapter has revealed the inclusion of ISDS provisions that would undermine public health, the environment and other public-interest ‘safeguards’.

The most well-known cases include:

• Chevron (US) vs. Ecuador: in 2013, an arbitration court ordered Ecuador to pay Chevron US$106 for breach of contract (Ecuador-United States BIT invoked). Meanwhile in a separate case, Ecuador’s highest court fined the oil giant US$9.5 billion for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest. Both cases are unresolved.

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).

• National Grid PLC (United Kingdom) vs. Argentina: about US$50 million awarded in 2008 to the investor, a multinational electricity and gas utility company (Argentine-United Kingdom BIT invoked).

(October 2015)

Reuters | 9-Mar-2019
Venezuela must pay ConocoPhillips more than $8 billion to compensate for the 2007 expropriation of oil assets by the country’s late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, the World Bank ruled.
Le Figaro | 9-Mar-2019
Le Venezuela doit rembourser quelque 8,7 milliards de dollars au géant pétrolier américain ConocoPhillips en guise de compensation pour son expropriation en juin 2007, a jugé un panel d’arbitrage de la Banque mondiale.
Lex Latin | 6-Mar-2019
Los demandantes alegaron que Panamá expropió y no otorgó un trato justo y equitativo a las empresas y a su inversión en el proyecto.
Alternatives Economiques | 4-Mar-2019
Les victimes de la pollution pétrolière ont obtenu gain de cause contre Chevron devant la justice de leur pays, mais la décision a été annulée par la Cour d’arbitrage de La Haye.
| 1-Mar-2019
La empresa francesa de servicios públicos podría embargar bienes del país para asegurar el pago de parte de los millones en daños y perjuicios adeudados por el gobierno.
Le Figaro | 28-Feb-2019
Suez met la pression sur l’Argentine pour récupérer les 630 millions de dollars de réparation décidés par un arbitrage rendu en 2015 et a fait le premier pas vers une possible saisie d’actifs argentins.
Swiss Info | 28-Feb-2019
Suez amenazó con ceder a "fondos especializados" la deuda que Argentina tiene con al empresa francesa, si el gobierno argentino no acelera el pago de los 630 millones de dólares arbitrados por el CIADI.
Perfil | 28-Feb-2019
El abogado de la resistencia contra una mina de capital estadounidense-canadiense observó que es una “total irresponsabilidad” del ministro de Economía buscar un “arreglo” con la entidad extractora que demandó al país por la suspensión de sus operaciones.
Buenos Aires Times | 27-Feb-2019
French waste and water group Suez SA has contacted "specialised funds" about possibly selling its debt claims to Argentina, the group announced.
Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity | 27-Feb-2019
In February of 2011 the Ecuadorian Courts delivered an historic verdict, sentencing the Big Oil Corporation Chevron to pay US$9,500 million dollars for its contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon (1964-1992). However, Chevron hit back via the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system and sued Ecuador.

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