Latin America

Latin American and Caribbean countries have signed almost 700 investment agreements. They have been targeted in almost 300 investor-state disputes.

Argentina has faced almost 62 ISDS cases, about 6% of all cases, making it the world’s most targeted state. Venezuela and Mexico have been among the ten most frequent respondents in the world, with 51 and 33 cases, respectively.

Many key cases such as Renco vs. Peru, Chevron vs. Ecuador or Pac Rim vs. El Salvador have originated in significant environmental damages caused by corporations. Philip Morris took an ISDS case against Uruguay over its anti-tobacco law.

Chile, Mexico and Peru are also party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with eight other Pacific Rim states. The TPP includes an investor-state dispute mechanism that undermines public-interest ‘safeguards’.

The most well-known cases ISDS cases in the region include:

Chevron (US) vs. Ecuador: For 26 years, Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, performed oil operations in Ecuador. Ecuadorian courts found that during that period the company dumped billions of gallons of toxic water and dug hundreds of open-air oil sludge pits in Ecuador’s Amazon, poisoning the communities of some 30,000 Amazon residents. After a legal battle spanning two decades, in November 2013, Ecuador’s highest court ordered the corporation to pay $9.5 billion to provide desperately needed clean-up and health care to afflicted indigenous communities. Chevron challenged the decisions produced by Ecuador’s domestic legal system before an ISDS tribunal. In 2018, the arbitration tribunal held that the $9.5 billion judgment was fraudulent, violated international public policy and should not be recognised or enforced by the courts of other States. The amount of the award has not been established yet. (Ecuador-United States BIT invoked)

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).

Investors vs. Argentina: When Argentina froze its utility rates in response to its 2001-2002 financial crisis, it was hit by over 40 lawsuits from investors, including Suez & Vivendi (France), Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A (Spain) and Anglian Water (UK). The ISDS tribunal concluded that Argentina had breached the investors’ right to fair and equitable treatment. By 2014, the country had been ordered to pay a total of US$980 million (various BITs invoked).

(April 2020)

Gato Encerrado | 25-Oct-2019
Peritos contratados por Enagás determinaron que el valor actualizado de los activos del Gasoducto que quedaron en manos del Estado (ductos, maquinarias, etc.) alcanza los US$ 1,980 millones.
National Law Review | 24-Oct-2019
This case involves a dispute between TECO, an energy company incorporated in the United States, and the Republic of Guatemala, over electricity rates.
El Tiempo | 24-Oct-2019
El laudo del CIADI le ordena a Colombia devolverle 19,1 millones de dólares a esa empresa.
Ciar Global | 24-Oct-2019
Un total de 16 árbitros, entre ellos algunos de reconocido prestigio a nivel internacional, están siendo investigados por la Fiscalía peruana en el caso Lava Jato en relación con los arbitrajes que se habrían resuelto a favor de Odebrecht.
Ecoticias | 23-Oct-2019
Con motivo de la Semana de Acción contra la Impunidad Corporativa, la campaña Derechos para las Personas Obligaciones para las Multinacionales lanzó en toda Europa la web de Premios Escobilla de Oro.
AFTINET | 21-Oct-2019
Organisations representing millions of Australians wrote to Labor MPs last week asking them to implement their policies against harmful proposals including special rights for foreign investors to sue governments for millions over domestic laws.
América Latina Mejor Sin TLC | 18-Oct-2019
Según la UNCTAD, el 29% de las 983 demandas realizadas en el mundo por corporaciones contra Estados fueron para países de la región. Se trata de 281 demandas, 14 en lo que va del año.
CIAR Global | 18-Oct-2019
En esta ocasión, las demandantes encabezadas por la holandesa The Williams Companies International Holdings B.V., cambian de despacho en relación a la demanda de arbitraje que interpusieron en 2011 también ante el CIADI.
Gibson Dunn | 18-Oct-2019
Argentina introduced a number of new restrictions on foreign currency transactions, reversing its four-year-old policy that had eliminated such controls, which may give rise to investment treaty claims by foreign investors.
CIAR Global | 16-Oct-2019
El Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas (MEF) peruano ha comunicado la contratación de un despacho internacional para enfrentar la defensa en el arbitraje iniciado por Latam Hydro y CH Mamacocha.

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