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)

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).
ITN | 24-Dec-2008
Argentina has refused calls by Siemens to suspend proceedings at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in which a committee is considering Argentina’s request to revise a 2007 award, following the admission by the German firm that it had bribed Argentinean officials.
| 24-Dec-2008
When the government of Ecuador failed to make a scheduled interest payment on private bonds this month, it was hardly the first time a country had defaulted in the middle of a financial crisis.
Upside Down World | 22-Dec-2008
A Canadian mining company intends to sue El Salvador’s government for several hundred million dollars if it is not granted permission to open a widely unpopular gold and silver mine that scientists warn would have devastating effects on local water supplies.
| 13-Dec-2008
A Canadian mining company and its American subsidiary have threatened the government of El Salvador with a lawsuit after it failed to receive regulatory approval to begin digging for gold and silver in an area some 65 km from San Salvador. The proposed mine has drawn intense opposition from civil society and church-based groups, although the mining company maintains that it enjoys broad public support in El Salvador.
Dominican Republic Lawyer | 8-Oct-2008
An arbitration tribunal constituted under the France-Dominican Republic Bilateral Investment Treaty released an award last week ruling on the jurisdictional objections raised by the Dominican Republic in a claim brought by TCW and its parent company.
International Law Reporter | 6-Oct-2008
Ecuador’s new constitution provides that Ecuador will not enter into international agreements under which Ecuador would have to cede jurisdiction to international arbitral tribunals in contractual or commercial matters between the State and individuals or corporations.
Dow Jones Newswires | 11-Sep-2008
A panel from the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or Icsid, said late Tuesday that it has jurisdiction for the claim of the US-based oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) against Ecuador.
Argenpress | 9-Aug-2008
El sometimiento al arbitraje de controversias entre los Estados y los inversores extranjeros forma parte de las obligaciones asumidas en casi todos, o todos, los Tratados de Protección y Promoción de las Inversiones Extranjeras (TPPI), en Tratados de Libre comercio y en otros similares
Diario Colatino | 10-Jul-2008
¿No será que el anuncio de retirada de Pacific Rim es una acción táctica de su estrategia de presión? Eso parece demostrar cuando envía a un grupo de supuestos trabajadores mineros a protestar por la pérdida de sus empleos, y cuando amenaza al gobierno con acogerse a las reglas del CAFTA para obligarlo a pagar millonarias indemnizaciones

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