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)

| 10-Jul-2013
Concerns about objectivity and accountability of investment dispute arbitrators have prompted calls for tougher ethical guidelines as caseloads have exploded.
| 25-Jun-2013
Latin American states are the only ones in the world that have decided to withdraw from the ICSID Convention. It is also the only region in the world considering the necessity to find an alternative to ICSID mechanism.
Tobacco Reporter | 19-Jun-2013
Philip Morris International expects a decision to be made this month or next on a challenge by Uruguay as to whether an international tribunal set to hear bilateral investment treaty complaints has jurisdiction over the matter.
Bernama | 6-Jun-2013
Argentina’s Supreme Court revoked a US$19 billion embargo on the assets and future income of Chevron Corp.’s Argentina subsidiary, giving the US oil giant a victory in a decades-old battle with indigenous groups in Ecuador.
Latin American Herald Tribune | 30-May-2013
Venezuela reported a triumph at the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in a case brought by Panama’s OPIC Karimun Corporation on compensation for losses it sustained when Venezuela nationalized oil fields in 2007.
Mining Weekly | 28-May-2013
Vancouver-based South American Silver (SAS), which early in May filed for arbitration against the Bolivian government over the cancellation of mineral tenements in 2012, has entered into a privileged arbitration funding agreement with an international investment fund specialising in such proceedings.
Bloomberg | 28-May-2013
Most of La Oroya’s children suffer elevated lead levels, according to the Peruvian government. Parents say some have symptoms — consistent with lead poisoning — that include anemia, convulsions, stunted growth, mental retardation.
REDES - AT | 24-Apr-2013
26 de abril a las 19 hs. en el Café La Diaria, Soriano 770, Montevideo. Disertará la experta internacional Cecilia Olivet.
ADITAL | 24-Apr-2013
La Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (ALBA) acordó ayer lunes en Ecuador a creación de un nuevo mecanismo de coordinación regional para la defensa conjunta en procesos de arbitraje internacional, especialmente aquellos interpuestos por compañías transnacionales contra países latinoamericanos.
AFP | 5-Apr-2013
Le compagnie minière canadienne Infinito Gold a menacé jeudi le Costa Rica d’une plainte portant sur plusieurs millions de dollars si d’ici le 4 octobre prochain aucun accord amiable n’était trouvé après l’annulation d’un projet minier dans le nord du pays, a indiqué l’entreprise à San José.

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