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)

Milenio.com | 29-Aug-2007
Se trata de la primera controversia entre Guatemala y una empresa privada que deberá ser procesada y resuelta en el marco del TLC suscrito entre Estados Unidos y el bloque de Centroamérica y República Dominicana
Polaris Institute | 24-Aug-2007
French media and telecoms group Vivendi said on Tuesday it had been awarded $105 million in compensation at the end of a decade-long dispute with Argentinian authorities about a former water concession.
| 12-Jun-2007
Ecuador is furiously lobbying members of Congress to extend trade preferences, set to run out at the end of the month, that are intended to counter narcotics trafficking.
ITN | 9-May-2007
Investment Treaty News has learned that Bolivia has sent a formal notice to the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) declaring its withdrawal from the ICSID convention.
FPIF | 3-May-2007
When Bolivian President Evo Morales took office in January 2006, he pledged to follow through on his campaign pledge to increase Bolivians’ share of revenues from their major source of foreign income, natural gas. International gas companies, however, threatened to sue. Previous Bolivian governments had signed a flurry of bilateral investment treaties that gave foreign investors the right to bypass domestic courts and file such lawsuits through international tribunals. Morales complained that these rules made him feel like a “prisoner” in the presidential palace.
| 2-May-2007
Bolivia and Venezuela, both nationalizing huge swathes of their economies, should quit a World Bank body that arbitrates between foreign investors and states, Bolivia’s president said on Sunday.
| 20-Apr-2007
La mayoría demócrata en el Congreso de EE. UU. exige la renegociación de TLC en curso
| 30-Mar-2007
Pittsburgh-based Railroad Development Corporation (RDC) has hired former US trade agreement negotiator, Regina Vargo, and filed suit against the Guatemalan government under the investor-state provisions within Chapter 10 of CAFTA.
Multimedios del Cariba | 29-Mar-2007
Acicateado por la entrada en vigencia del dr-cafta, parece llegado el turno a las demandas financieras derivadas de compromisos asumidos por el estado mediante contratos con empresas extranjeras
Business Week | 17-Mar-2007
Foreign energy investors said on Friday that they warned the Dominican Republic it had to mend its crippled power sector months before filing a US$680 million (euro510 million) lawsuit against the country for lost electricity revenue.

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