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investor-state disputes | ISDS

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) refers to a way of handling conflicts under international investment agreements whereby companies from one party are allowed to sue the government of another party. This means they can file a complaint and seek compensation for damages. Many BITs and investment chapters of FTAs allow for this if the investor’s expectation of a profit has been negatively affected by some action that the host government took, such as changing a policy. The dispute is normally handled not in a public court but through a private abritration panel. The usual venues where these proceedings take place are the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank), the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law or the International Court of Justice.

ISDS is a hot topic right now because it is being challenged very strongly by concerned citizens in the context of the EU-US TTIP negotiations, the TransPacific Partnership talks and the CETA deal between Canada and the EU.


PM asked to facilitate out of court resolution
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MoPNR) has written a letter to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to persuade the Balochistan government to settle the Reko Diq issue out of court, fearing a penalty of Rs39 billion by the International Centre for Settlement Investment Disputes (ICSID).
US firm to launch NAFTA challenge to Quebec fracking ban
A US-incorporated energy firm, Lone Pine Resources Inc., is taking on Quebec’s stand against fracking, saying it violates the North American free-trade agreement and demanding more than $250-million in compensation.
Cargill says Mexico owes it $95 million in NAFTA dispute
US agribusiness company Cargill Inc. filed a suit in a US court on Tuesday to compel Mexico to pay a $94.6 million award over trade barriers the company says Mexico put up against high-fructose corn syrup from 2002 to 2007.
Why Australia walked away from investor state rights in trade deals - And why Canada should too
Much of the debate surrounding the Canada-China trade deal revolves around the dispute settlement clause in the deal. Troy Media contacted Professor Thomas Faunce of the Australian National University in Canberra to explain why the Australian government decided to discontinue the practise of seeking inclusion of investor state dispute settlement provisions in trade agreements with developing countries.
South American Silver notifies Bolivia of investment dispute
TSX-listed South American Silver (SAS) on Tuesday said it had notified the Plurinational State of Bolivia of an investment dispute between the company and Bolivia, after the company’s subsidiaries had lost its mineral tenements.
Ecuador seeks annulment of international court ruling in Occidental case
Ecuador has officially requested the annulment of an international court ruling that ordered it to pay $1.77 billion, plus pre- and post-award interest, to Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Ecuador preparing to contest Icsid’s award to Occidental
Ecuador’s Attorney General said Monday his office is preparing the legal basis to contest an international court ruling that ordered the country to pay $1.77 billion plus interest to Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Ecuador / ICSID: A new revolt likely to have regional repercussions
Ecuador officially announced on 8 October 2012 that it will request the annulment of the recent decision of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) which was communicated on 5 October 2012 (ICSID Decision ARB/06/11).
Big Tobacco warning at free-trade talks
Delegates attending trans-Pacific free-trade negotiations in the United States are being warned their countries could end up like Australia if they agree to allow corporations to sue governments in international courts.
Icsid: Venezuela with the largest amount of ongoing complaints
Venezuela turned out to be the country with the highest number of complaints filed against it at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Icsid) of the World Bank, after four new complaints lodged in the days prior to its effective pullout of the body.
Malaysia headquartered Axiata Group threatens Indian government with international arbitration
Malaysia headquartered Axiata Group, which holds about 20% stake in Idea Cellular has threatened claim damages and drag the Indian government to international arbitration under bilateral investment protection pacts (BIPA), making it the sixth international investor in the telecoms space to serve notice under bilateral trade agreements.
UNCTAD WIR 2012 launched
UNCTAD’s flagship publication, World Investment Report 2012: Towards a New Generation of Investment Policies, was launched on 5 July in Geneva by Dr. James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division, as well as by staff and collaborators worldwide.
US agrees to take disputes to Pakistani courts first
Amid calls to make public the draft of bilateral investment treaty, the government claims that it has gained much and lost nothing to the United States as Washington has agreed to first taking any business dispute to Pakistani courts for settlement.
TDM Call for papers "Aligning Human Rights and Investment Protection"
Transnational Dispute Management is currently preparing a special issue on "Aligning Human Rights and Investment Protection".
The dark side of investment agreements
An animation which exposes how people are paying the costs of corporate lawsuits under international investment agreements.
SBY frets over int’l arbitration
President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono is telling his ministers to prepare for the worst after the government recently entered into arbitration with an international mining company.
French company, Veolia, launches claim against Egypt over terminated waste contract and labor wage stabilization promises
French multinational Veolia has had an ICSID arbitration claim registered against the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Kazakhstan wins the arbitration proceeding versus Caratube company
On 5 June 2012 the arbitral tribunal of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) adopted the decision on the case initiated by Caratube International Oil Company LLP (CIOC) against the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Lone Star is back in town, armed with the investor-state dispute system

In a May 31 press release, the US private equity fund Lone Star said it was planning to request investor state dispute (ISD) arbitration for losses suffered due to "unlawful" interference by the South Korean government.

Canadian miner’s complaint can proceed under El Salvador law
Canadian company Pacific Rim can move forward under El Salvador law with a case against that country’s government for blocking a gold mining project, but cannot file suit under a regional trade agreement, a World Bank arbitration panel ruled.