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)

IISD | 9-Oct-2009
Mexico has suffered another loss in a series of investor-state arbitral disputes involving its sugar industry.
| 6-Oct-2009
Marking a final setback for Argentina in its protracted dispute with US-based water services firm Azurix Corp, on 1 September 2009 an ad hoc committee denied Argentina’s application to annul an ICSID tribunal’s previous decision awarding Azurix approximately US$165 Million for breach of Argentina’s obligations under the US-Argentina Bilateral Investment Treaty.
Reuters | 25-Sep-2009
Ecuador accused Chevron Corp on Thursday of filing an international arbitration claim against the country in an attempt to shield itself against losing a $27 billion environmental damage lawsuit.
Financial Times | 24-Sep-2009
Chevron, the world’s third biggest oil company, said it had filed an international arbitration claim against the government of Ecuador, citing violations of the country’s obligations under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty, investment agreements and international law.
World-Grain.com | 21-Aug-2009
US-based Corn Products International has been awarded damages of over $58m in a dispute with Mexico over violations of the North America Free Trade Agreement.
ICTSD | 6-Aug-2009
Exiting ICSID and joining ALBA and UNASUR,along with the customs restrictions it applied on its CAN neighbours, are the recent measures that have been taken by the government of Ecuador to demonstrate that there is an alternative trade policy.
ICTSD | 5-Aug-2009
La salida del CIADI, la incorporación a la ALBA y a la UNASUR, así como las restricciones arancelarias impuestas a sus vecinos de la CAN, son medidas tomadas recientemente por el gobierno ecuatoriano que muestran una política comercial alternativa.
Law.com | 25-Jun-2009
It’s time for the US Department of State to pressure Argentina to comply with its treaty obligations, some lawyers suggest.
OMAL | 23-Jun-2009
Las empresas representadas bajo el nombre de Pacific Rim Cayman LLC, en el marco del Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Estados Unidos, Centroamérica y Republica Dominicana (CAFTA - DR por sus siglas en inglés) demandan al Estado por una cantidad inicial de US$77 millones de dólares, en concepto de indemnización por daños a la inversión realizada en nuestro suelo.
ITN | 6-Jan-2009
A tribunal has determined that it holds jurisdiction to hear a claim brought by Chevron Corporation against Ecuador for alleged violations of the Ecuador-United States bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

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