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)

Easy Bourse | 10-Oct-2006
US-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) has dropped a compensation claim against Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador in a move that analysts said may strengthen the oil firm’s case against the government.
| 11-Sep-2006
Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio has rejected arbitration against his nation for annulling in May the contract with US Oxy oil company that operated there.
| 24-Aug-2006
An international arbitration court has rejected a request by Occidental Petroleum Corp. to stop Ecuador from seizing its assets in the Andean country, a government official said on Tuesday.
| 15-Aug-2006
Former Enron Corp. (ENE) water unit Azurix Corp. has been awarded $165 million against Argentina in the latest ruling on dozens of international arbitration claims brought against the country by foreign companies. A person familiar with the situation confirmed Tuesday that both parties were informed Monday of the decision by a tribunal at the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, or the ICSID.
| 31-Jul-2006
The outcome of Occidental Petroleum’s latest dispute with Ecuador will be an important test of the effectiveness of BITs in protecting overseas investor rights in volatile political climates.
| 31-Jul-2006
Vannessa Ventures Ltd. (the "Company") has an arbitral claim being heard in accordance with the rules of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, D.C. where Vannessa is requesting remedies under the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Venezuela and Canada.
Mondaq | 15-Jun-2006
It may be advantageous for foreign investors to pursue a claim under a Political Risk insurance policy and allow the insurers to recover subsequently under any applicable investment treaty by way of subrogation.
IPS | 26-May-2006
Showing the door to Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) and scuttling US free trade negotiations have long been agenda priorities for Ecuadorian social movements and political sectors. But following government steps that have all but made these goals a reality, the atmosphere seems more anxious than celebratory.
MarketWatch | 24-May-2006
Ecuador will oppose an arbitration suit filed last week by Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY) with the World Bank’s International Center for Investment Disputes in Washington, DC, said Ecuadorean Attorney General Jose Maria Borja.
ANTARA | 18-May-2006
The US-based Occidental Petroleum Company has filed an arbitration claim against Quito for canceling its exploration rights, a move that resulted in a suspension of free trade talks with Washington.

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