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)

IPS | 14-Jan-2011
La empresa Doe Run volvió a desafiar al Estado peruano. A través de su representante, el Grupo Renco, notificó al gobierno de su intención de iniciar arbitraje internacional amparándose en TLC entre este país y EEUU.
NO a la Mina | 12-Jan-2011
La empresa estadounidense Renco Group, Inc. y su filial Doe Run Perú SRL. han iniciado un proceso de arbitraje internacional contra el Estado peruano, basándose en el TLC impuesto por EE.UU. al gobierno de Perú.
PRNewswire | 6-Jan-2011
The Renco Group has served the Republic of Peru with a "Notice of Intent to Commence an International Arbitration Proceeding" under the US-Peru FTA for the Peruvian government’s alleged failure to remediate soils poisoned by Renco’s mining operations there.
EFE | 18-Dec-2010
The Ecuadorian government hailed a decision by an International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration panel, which said it lacked jurisdiction over a lawsuit brought against Quito by US-based Murphy Oil Corporation.
AFP | 22-Nov-2010
Uruguay’s Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a constitutional challenge brought by tobacco giant Philip Morris that disputes the tiny South American country’s anti-tobacco laws.
Market Watch | 29-Sep-2010
Gold Reserve’s claim alleges violations of three provisions of the Canada-Venezuela BIT culminating in the effective expropriation of Gold Reserve’s investments in the Brisas gold/copper project and the Choco 5 gold property.
AFP | 29-Sep-2010
Le groupe minier américano-canadien Gold Reserve Inc a annoncé mardi qu’il cherchait à obtenir plus de 1,9 milliard de dollars de compensations du Venezuela pour l’expropriation de ses mines dans ce pays.
AFP | 13-Sep-2010
Uruguayan officials announced plans Thursday to take further steps to toughen controls on tobacco despite a pending legal battle with global cigarette powerhouse Philip Morris International.
Marketwire | 12-Aug-2010
A legal analysis of the challenge launched by Philip Morris International found the company to be both unjustified and unreasonable in its opposition to Uruguay’s new tobacco packaging laws.
| 11-Aug-2010
French media conglomerate Vivendi (VIV.FR) Tuesday said the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID, reaffirmed its original ruling and financial award in favour of the company in a long-running dispute with Argentina.

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