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)

| 11-Aug-2010
In a decision with implications for the national sovereignty of member states under US trade pacts, a World Bank tribunal has approved a Canadian mining company’s controversial lawsuit against the government of El Salvador.
CETIM | 6-Aug-2010
Existe una densa trama de convenios y tratados económicos y financieros -internacionales, regionales, subregionales y bilaterales- que han suplantado los instrumentos básicos del derecho internacional y regional de los derechos humanos.
Reuters | 6-Aug-2010
Chevron Corp urged a US federal appeals court not to force it into Ecuador’s courts, but to allow it to go to international arbitration, to defend a $27.4 bn lawsuit alleging its oilfields polluted the Amazon rainforest and sickened thousands of Ecuadorians.
Dow Jones | 3-Aug-2010
The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or Icsid, dismissed the claims lodged by Enron Creditors Recovery Corp and Ponderosa Assets L.P. late Friday.
Buenos Aires Herald | 2-Aug-2010
A committee of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled in favour of Argentina and cancelled a decision by which it had been condemned to pay more than US$106 million to shareholding companies of the local Southern Gas Conveyor (TGS)
ITN | 12-May-2010
Anglo-Argentinean energy firm Pan American Energy has initiated arbitration against Bolivia over the nationalization of its subsidiary Chaco Petroleum by the Morales government in 2009.
Change.org | 20-Apr-2010
Litigation over the ecological disaster that is Lago Agrio has produced a decades-long narrative that rivals Finnegans Wake in complexity.
Reuters | 12-Mar-2010
Chevron Corp may pursue an international arbitration claim over environmental pollution allegations in Ecuador, a judge ruled on Thursday, part of a long-running case that carries a potential $27 billion liability for the second-largest US oil company.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre | 11-Mar-2010
The move is certain to be closely watched by international lawyers and policymakers alike, as it will serve as an early test-case of the little-used intellectual property protections contained in BITs.
Wall St Journal | 10-Mar-2010
The World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes may soon rule on a case brought by US oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp. against Ecuador

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