North America

Canada and the United States have signed about 180 investment agreements.

They are both party to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico. Sixty-seven disputes were launched under NAFTA.

NAFTA was recently renegotiated and replaced by the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that was signed in November 2018 and is yet to enter in force. The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism between the US and Canada, and between Mexico and Canada has been removed – even though it is included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to which both Mexico and Canada belong. Only limited claims are allowed between the US and Mexico, after exhaustion of local remedies. But the ISDS mechanism has been maintained between the two countries for claims pertaining to Mexico’s oil and gas sector.

The US is also party to the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), with six Central American states. US investors have initiated all 11 known CAFTA disputes.

Canada has an investment treaty with China and is party to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union. CETA includes a revised ISDS mechanism, the investment court system, which has been critiqued for not addressing the core of the problem behind the mechanism.

US investors have extensively used the ISDS mechanism. They have initiated around 180 disputes, over 17% of all known cases, making the US the most frequent home state of investors. The US has never lost an ISDS case.

Canadian investors have initiated about 50 disputes and Canada has been the fourth most frequent target among ‘developed’ states (9th globally), with 29 cases.

(April 2020)

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.
Reuters | 10-Jul-2020
Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp said it served a dispute notice to the Papua New Guinea government over the country’s refusal to extend a mining lease in the Porgera valley.
Korea Times | 24-Jun-2020
The government is apparently baffled by Lone Star Fund’s attempts to use Korean news outlets as a means of putting itself in a dominant position in its $4.68 billion legal battle against Seoul.
Pulse | 5-Jun-2020
US private equity firm Lone Star Funds suggested it was open to “amicable and sensible” out-of-court option to settle the longstanding dispute with the Korean government.
Express | 29-May-2020
The UK Department for International Trade has been blasted for its claims that the UK has enough trading clout to assert itself in US trade talks, amid concerns.
Morning Star | 26-May-2020
The dispute with Crystallex follows a ruling by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Icsid), an international arbitration institution set up by the World Bank.
Open Democracy | 6-May-2020
An internal EU report claims that the UK government has pressured the Armenian government in a two-year standoff between protesters, an international mining company and the authorities.
Forum AE | 27-Mar-2020
Des traités sont en cours de négociations avec notamment le Gabon, le Ghana, le Kenya, la Mauritanie, le Mozambique, la R.D. Congo, le Rwanda et la Tunisie.
Gabriel Resources | 16-Mar-2020
Gabriel has provided notice to Romania of a dispute with regard to Romania’s application to UNESCO in relation to Roşia Montană and has reserved its right to commence a further arbitration.
Mining Journal | 4-Mar-2020
Cerro Verde, a partnership between Freeport McMoran and Buenaventura, is to bring a case against Peru related to a taxation dispute at the ICSID under a US-Peru trade agreement.

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