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 | 9-Aug-2011
Azurix Corp plans to ask the Obama administration for help in recovering more than $230 million it says it is owned by the government of Argentina. It would be the first time a US company has used the "Section 301" trade law to pressure a foreign government to pay an award decided by an arbitrator in an investment dispute.
Info Justice | 4-Aug-2011
Philip Morris asserts that fair and equitable treatment includes a right to a “stable and predictable regulatory framework” as well as rights under treaties in addition to customary international law.
El Heraldo | 14-Jul-2011
Estudian, además, denunciar al Estado de Honduras ante organismos supranacionales.
Terra | 29-Jun-2011
La minera canadiense Bear Creek Mining anunció que recurrirá al TLC entre el Perú y Canadá para defender la inversión y continuidad del proyecto minero Santa Ana.
| 28-Jun-2011
Pacific Rim is suing the Salvadoran government in an international investment court, one of scores of cases in recent years in which frustrated oil, gas and mining investors, using provisions of trade agreements, have sought to recoup losses from mostly developing countries.
| 27-Jun-2011
Canada’s Bear Creek Mining Corp. is threatening a legal challenge against Peru after its mining rights were revoked in a move that raises the risk for other resource companies doing business in the mineral-blessed South American country.
| 15-Jun-2011
The office of Ecuador’s Attorney General will represent Ecuador in Washington at a June 30 hearing in the arbitration case filed against the Andean country by US oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp.
| 9-Jun-2011
One of the world’s biggest tobacco companies is launching a claim against Uruguay for considering the country’s legislation commercially damaging to the company. Philip Morris corporation has filed a claim at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank branch.
La Prensa Gráfica | 21-Mar-2011
“El tribunal determina que la disputa no se encuentra dentro de su jurisdicción y competencia de conformidad con el CAFTA.”, Resolución del tribunal del CIADI
Public Citizen | 2-Mar-2011
The award in agribusiness giant Cargill’s NAFTA investor-state attack on Mexico’s jobs program was published last week.

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