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)

| 12-Jan-2005
En estos días las pintas quiteñas preguntan si con el Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) que EEUU está impulsando con Colombia, Perú y Ecuador ¿tenemos los días contados?
NYT | 2-Oct-2004
In Ecuador, residents of the country’s eastern rainforest are suing Chevron Texaco. They say that the methods Texaco used to drill for oil in the 1970’s and 1980’s caused billions of dollars in environmental damage and health problems that continue today.
| 22-Sep-2004
Decision of ICSID Tribunal (July 17, 2003) in regard to objections to jurisdiction in CMS Gas Transmission Company vs The Republic of Argentina. CMS bases its claim against Argentina on a 1991 Argentina-US Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).
| 16-Sep-2004
The free trade agreement the United States plans to negotiate with the Andean countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru should contain an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, witnesses at a Trade Policy Staff Committee hearing on the Andean FTA said March 17.
ARGENPRESS | 4-Sep-2004
Ponencia presentada en el III Congreso Internacional - Derechos y Garantías en el Siglo XXI. Asociación de Abogados de Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, 8, 9 y 10 de setiembre de 2004. Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires.
| 25-Aug-2004
The Big Food Group which owns the Iceland chain of food stores, has abandoned its more than 12M pounds sterling claim against Guyana for the nationalisation of the sugar industry 27 years ago.
Vannessa drops all Las Cristinas Venezuelan appeals | 2-Aug-2004
In order to meet the requirements to submit its Las Cristanas dispute to international arbitration, junior explorationist Vanessa Ventures [VV] of Calgary, Alberta, has dropped five appeals to Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice.
| 13-Jul-2004
Occidental Petroleum Corporation said today that a tribunal of international arbitrators formed under the US-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty has issued its unanimous decision awarding approximately $75 million as compensation for value added tax (VAT) refunds from the company’s Block 15 operations in Ecuador that were deemed wrongfully withheld by the Government of Ecuador through December 31, 2003.
| 31-May-2004
The attached letter, pressuring Costa Rica to resolve two disputes in favour of US investors, has been denounced as a blackmail by local activists.
MTD Capital wins case against Chile | 28-May-2004
MTD Capital Bhd has won in its legal dispute against the government of Chile in respect of its investment in a housing project in the country.

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