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)

Financial Times | 3-Apr-2013
How did UK-based power company Rurelec manage to get Bolivia to go to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague over the nationalisation of the assets of its local subsidiary, Guaracachi, almost three years ago?
Reuters | 22-Feb-2013
Cargill has reached a settlement with Mexico in a dispute that resulted in a $77 million arbitration award for the US agribusiness company
| 11-Feb-2013
Uruguay faces its first hearings in the French capital this week in a lawsuit filed by US tobacco giant Philip Morris International against its anti-smoking laws, an official said on Monday.
| 31-Jan-2013
A few days ago, ICSID published an award rendered last December 12, 2012 ruling on a claim filed by a Canadian mining company, Vanessa Ventures against Venezuela in 2004.
| 28-Jan-2013
Hace unos dias, el CIADI dió a conocer el fallo emitido el pasado 12 de diciembre del 2012 en relación a la demanda interpuesta por la empresa minera canadiense Vanessa Ventures contra Venezuela en el año 2004. En su decisión, los tres árbitros del tribunal arbitral del CIADI desestiman la demanda por 1.045 millones de US$ presentada por la empresa canadiense contra Venezuela.
| 10-Jan-2013
Spanish power grid operator Red Electrica said on Tuesday it had begun to seek World Bank arbitration over Bolivia’s expropriation of its transmission business TDE.
Public Citizen | 28-Dec-2012
U.S.-based Renco Group Inc. is trying to use the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to evade justice.
| 23-Dec-2012
The World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes has handed down a ruling against the Ecuadorian government, finding that it “unlawfully expropriated” U.S. firm Burlington Resources’ investments in two oil blocks.
South Centre | 6-Dec-2012
Developing countries that have signed BITs should start a process of review and eventual renegotiation or denunciation, writes Carlos Correa
| 29-Nov-2012
Argentina faces 42 claims at the World Bank’s ICSID in which the plaintiffs are demanding compensations for almost 65 billion dollars, revealed Eduardo Barcesat legal advisor to the Argentine Treasury and one of several lawyers who has defended the country in those litigations.

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