Latin America

Latin American and Caribbean countries have signed almost 700 investment agreements. They have been targeted in almost 300 investor-state disputes.

Argentina has faced almost 62 ISDS cases, about 6% of all cases, making it the world’s most targeted state. Venezuela and Mexico have been among the ten most frequent respondents in the world, with 51 and 33 cases, respectively.

Many key cases such as Renco vs. Peru, Chevron vs. Ecuador or Pac Rim vs. El Salvador have originated in significant environmental damages caused by corporations. Philip Morris took an ISDS case against Uruguay over its anti-tobacco law.

Chile, Mexico and Peru are also party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with eight other Pacific Rim states. The TPP includes an investor-state dispute mechanism that undermines public-interest ‘safeguards’.

The most well-known cases ISDS cases in the region include:

Chevron (US) vs. Ecuador: For 26 years, Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, performed oil operations in Ecuador. Ecuadorian courts found that during that period the company dumped billions of gallons of toxic water and dug hundreds of open-air oil sludge pits in Ecuador’s Amazon, poisoning the communities of some 30,000 Amazon residents. After a legal battle spanning two decades, in November 2013, Ecuador’s highest court ordered the corporation to pay $9.5 billion to provide desperately needed clean-up and health care to afflicted indigenous communities. Chevron challenged the decisions produced by Ecuador’s domestic legal system before an ISDS tribunal. In 2018, the arbitration tribunal held that the $9.5 billion judgment was fraudulent, violated international public policy and should not be recognised or enforced by the courts of other States. The amount of the award has not been established yet. (Ecuador-United States BIT invoked)

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).

Investors vs. Argentina: When Argentina froze its utility rates in response to its 2001-2002 financial crisis, it was hit by over 40 lawsuits from investors, including Suez & Vivendi (France), Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A (Spain) and Anglian Water (UK). The ISDS tribunal concluded that Argentina had breached the investors’ right to fair and equitable treatment. By 2014, the country had been ordered to pay a total of US$980 million (various BITs invoked).

(April 2020)

América Latina Mejor Sin TLC | 10-Aug-2020
La Plataforma América Latina Mejor Sin TLC presenta: «25 años de tratados de libre comercio e inversión en América Latina. Análisis y perspectivas críticas». Un documento necesario para entender la arquitectura jurídica de la impunidad que gobierna desde hace décadas las economías de la región.
Subrayado | 10-Aug-2020
La empresa de origen indio había demandado al Estado uruguayo por 3.500 millones de dólares.
Gestión | 6-Aug-2020
"La disputa surge de ciertos actos y omisiones de la República del Perú en violación del TLC y el derecho internacional relacionados con la inversión de la compañía en el proyecto de oro Invicta", dijo la firma canadiense.
Reuters | 6-Aug-2020
US glass manufacturer O-I Glass Inc is seeking to seize an oil tanker owned by Venezuela to collect part of a $500 million arbitration award it won.
GlobeNewswire | 5-Aug-2020
Lupaka Gold Corp. reports that it has entered into an arbitration funding agreement for up to USD$4.1 million to support the company’s arbitration claim against Peru.
CIAR Global | 27-Jul-2020
La Superintendencia de Servicios Sanitarios (SISS) de Chile ha rechazado la solicitud de la compañía española Suez para interrumpir el proceso de caducidad de la Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios de Los Lagos S.A. (ESSAL), que tiene su origen en la interrupción del suministro de agua en la ciudad de Osorno en julio de 2019.
Infobae | 24-Jul-2020
Canadian Solar Inc, Atco Ltd, Northland Power Inc y JCM Power, consideraron peligrosa la decisión del gobierno mexicano de suspender nuevas plantas de energía renovable.
Council of Canadians | 13-Jul-2020
Already, Mexico’s progressive reforms have made it an ISDS target. First Majestic, a Canadian silver mining company has been threatening Mexico for the last few years, under NAFTA’s Chapter 11.
The Ecologist | 9-Jul-2020
Corporations are busy weaponising obscure legal instruments to sue government for their actions to save lives and jobs during the coronavirus crisis.
El Economista | 7-Jul-2020
México ganó un caso de resolución de controversias Inversionista-Estado en contra de la empresa Vento Motorcycles en el marco del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN), informó la Secretaría de Economía.

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