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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.


The secret trade courts - NYT editorial
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.
CMS vs Argentina
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).
FTA With Andean Nations Needs Mechanism to Resolve Investor-State Disputes
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.
Bechtel and GE File Arbitration over Dabhol Power Company
Bechtel Enterprises Holdings, Inc. and GE Structured Finance (GESF) have filed an arbitration action against the Government of India to recover their investments in the Dabhol Power Company (DPC).
Government in a tizzy as Dabhol defence cracks
The newly-appointed solicitor firm in London, Evershed, has backed out of the Dabhol arbitration case at the last minute, leaving the Union government in a quandary.
G.E., Bechtel file $1.2 b claim against Govt
BECHTEL Enterprises Holdings Inc and GE Structured Finance on Monday said that they have filed an international arbitration claim against the Government to recover their investments in Dabhol Power Company (DPC).
Govt Seeks 60 More Days To File Dabhol Defence
The government of India (GoI) has sought a 60-day extension from the Arbitral Tribunal in London for filing a defence statement after GE blocked the appointment of Evershed as India’s new solicitor firm in the UK.
UK supermarket chain abandons 12M pounds sterling claim against Guyana
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.
Bilateral investment agreements: Agents of new global standards for the protection of IPRs?
Developing countries have entered into a large number of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) as well as free trade agreements (FTAs) that include explicit obligations for the protection of intellectual property rights as "investments".
Vannessa drops all Las Cristinas Venezuelan appeals
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.
Arbitration panel ruling favors Occidental in Ecuador tax dispute
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.
US Treasury Dept pressures Costa Rica
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
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.
FTAAs/IIRSA, Plan Colombia and the Axis of Western Development
The North American Free Trade Treaty (NAFTA, Jan 1994), the Free Trade Area for the Americas (FTAAs, December 1994), Plan Colombia (1999), the Regional Integration of Infrastructure in South America (RIISA, September 2000) and the Plan Puebla Panamá (PPP, March 2001) are the building blocks of the US hegemonic policy for the Americas and the Caribbean.
NAFTA Tribunals Stir US Worries
After the highest court in Massachusetts ruled against a Canadian real estate company and after the United State Supreme Court declined to hear its appeal, the company’s day in court was over.
Bilateral Investment Treaties and Disputes
Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) have greatly proliferated in the last two decades, and play an increasingly significant role in global trade and investment protection.
Analysis: We Must Mobilise Against A Miasma of Mini-MAIs
You’ve got to wonder at the nerve of New Zealand trade officials. During the furtive Multilateral Agreement on Investment negotiations and the subsequent international waves of opposition they were quietly hatching binding bilateral investment deals containing provisions resembling some of the most controversial elements of the MAI.
Analysis: Sleeping Beauty And Prince Charming: Bilateral Deals Are No Fairytale
The recent explosion of bilateral investment and trade agreements and investor-state disputes is of growing concern. Many mobilisations against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) aim to stop attempts by industrialised countries to kickstart talks on a multilateral investment agreement at September’s Cancun Ministerial meeting.