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)

Reuters | 15-Nov-2012
US agribusiness company Cargill Inc. filed a suit in a US court on Tuesday to compel Mexico to pay a $94.6 million award over trade barriers the company says Mexico put up against high-fructose corn syrup from 2002 to 2007.
Mining Weekly | 24-Oct-2012
TSX-listed South American Silver (SAS) on Tuesday said it had notified the Plurinational State of Bolivia of an investment dispute between the company and Bolivia, after the company’s subsidiaries had lost its mineral tenements.
| 16-Oct-2012
L’Equateur a annoncé officiellement le 8 octobre 2012 qu´il exigera l’annulation de la dernière décision du Centre International pour le Règlement des Différends Relatifs aux Investissements (CIRDI) communiquée le 5 octobre 2012
Dow Jones | 11-Oct-2012
Ecuador has officially requested the annulment of an international court ruling that ordered it to pay $1.77 billion, plus pre- and post-award interest, to Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Dow Jones | 9-Oct-2012
Ecuador’s Attorney General said Monday his office is preparing the legal basis to contest an international court ruling that ordered the country to pay $1.77 billion plus interest to Occidental Petroleum Corp.
| 7-Oct-2012
Ecuador officially announced on 8 October 2012 that it will request the annulment of the recent decision of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) which was communicated on 5 October 2012 (ICSID Decision ARB/06/11).
| 22-Aug-2012
Venezuela turned out to be the country with the highest number of complaints filed against it at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Icsid) of the World Bank, after four new complaints lodged in the days prior to its effective pullout of the body.
Reuters | 4-Jun-2012
Canadian company Pacific Rim can move forward under El Salvador law with a case against that country’s government for blocking a gold mining project, but cannot file suit under a regional trade agreement, a World Bank arbitration panel ruled.
| 24-Apr-2012
The European Union has warned Argentina that it risks jeopardizing trade ties over Buenos Aires’ plans to expropriate a unit of Spanish oil company Repsol YPF SA (REP.MC) and impose a series of import restrictions and that Brussels stands ready to take retaliatory action.
IISD | 13-Apr-2012
The arbitral tribunal in Chevron v. Ecuador has taken a series of steps in recent months suggesting that it has a broad view of its authority.

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