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)

San Francisco Chronicle | 19-Jan-2006
San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp. has dropped a $25 million dispute against the Bolivian government for canceling a water contract, after major street demonstrations forced a Bechtel-owned subsidiary to withdraw from Bolivia’s third-largest city.
Dow Jones | 23-Dec-2005
Ecuador’s attorney general Thursday said he expects a U.K court to rule in March on a dispute between the government and U.S. oil firm Occidental Petroleum Company (OXY).
| 16-Dec-2005
Given that CAFTA-DR passed only by a small margin, it is unclear how much support the U.S.-Andean FTA will have.
Informa-tico.com | 28-Sep-2005
Costa Rica enfrenta desde junio pasado una demanda de la minera canadiense Vanessa Ventures Ltd, propietaria del archipolémico proyecto de explotación de oro a cielo abierto en Las Crucitas, frontera norte, la cual se suma a otro reclamo de inversionistas extranjeros de Ofinter S.A. -clausurada en el 2002- al amparo del acuerdo de inversiones suscrito en 1999 e incorporado al tratado de libre comercio (TLC) con Canadá.
http://ita.law.uvic.ca/alphabetical... | 5-Aug-2005
Another international arbitral tribunal has weighed in on the question as to whether “Most-Favored Nation” treatment offers foreign investors access to more favorable dispute resolution options found in other treaties.
| 20-Jul-2005
Criticism of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) currently being considered by the U.S. Congress has focused heavily on concerns that the treaty would devastate Central American farmers who would be forced to compete with heavily subsidized U.S. agribusiness.
Znet | 16-Jul-2005
Bolivia faces an impending lawsuit for cancelling the water contract with Aguas del Illimani, the private consortium controlled by majority shareholder Suez. Thanks to a bilateral investment treaty signed between France and Bolivia, Suez has the right to sue the Bolivian government for breach of contract.
Forbes | 13-May-2005
The Argentine government said it will try to annul a ruling by the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in favour of US company CMS Energy Corp.
| 7-Apr-2005
Scotiabank has filed a $600 million US compensation claim against Argentina, claiming that "discriminatory" actions taken by Argentine authorities led to the total loss of its investment in its Scotiabank Quilmes subsidiary in 2002.
Public Citizen | 23-Feb-2005
A new study by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch analyzes 42 NAFTA investor-state challenges and illustrates how the proposed CAFTA would extend the threat.

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