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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.


Claim against ROA Government
Global Gold mining company submitted its claim to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a body adjunct to the World Bank, against the Government of the Republic of Armenia (ROA). The Company is trying to protect its investment rights in arbitration court.
Ex-USTR negotiator Vargo key in CAFTA case
Pittsburgh-based Railroad Development Corporation (RDC) has hired former US trade agreement negotiator, Regina Vargo, and filed suit against the Guatemalan government under the investor-state provisions within Chapter 10 of CAFTA.
Italian lawsuit against SA government reinforces historical injustice
Finstone Ltd SA, a foreign mining company based in Luxembourg, is suing the South African government for an alleged expropriation of its mineral rights. Finstone is a holding company in control of three South African granite producing operations i.e. Marlin, Red Graniti and Kelgran. The real challenge posed by this legal action is that the abovementioned investors find the black economic empowerment programme is in violation of the bilateral treaties signed with South Africa by both Luxembourg and Italy.
US mining firm sues Armenian government
A US company mining gold in Armenia has initiated an international arbitration of its bitter dispute with Environment Minister Vartan Ayvazian whom it accuses of corruption and other violations of the law.
Dominican Republic warned about lawsuit
Foreign energy investors said on Friday that they warned the Dominican Republic it had to mend its crippled power sector months before filing a US$680 million (euro510 million) lawsuit against the country for lost electricity revenue.
New $19B arbitration case threat to Turkish government from Dutch company on Telsim sale
Dutch investment company Saba Fakes, who claim to hold the biggest part of shares of Turkey’s second big GSM operator Telsim, is preparing to file an arbitration case at International Arbitration amounting to 19 billion dollars in reparations.
RDC files notice of intent to submit claims for arbitration under CAFTA against the Republic of Guatemala
On the morning of Tuesday, March 13, Railroad Development Corporation (RDC) filed its Notice of Intent to Submit Claims to international arbitration against the Republic of Guatemala under the Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
South Africa: Govt faces first expropriation suit
A foreign mining company is suing the South African government over alleged expropriation of its mineral rights in a move that has huge implications for the country’s new mining dispensation.
Peru, Colombia trade deals would lock in more bad investment rules
The investment rules in the Colombia and Peru trade pacts with the US deserve special scrutiny. They grant protections for private foreign investors that are virtually identical to those in NAFTA, CAFTA and myriad bilateral investment treaties signed over the past two decades. And yet these countries are being pulled on board at a time of a dramatic awakening about these rules’ potential for harm.
Africa: Arbitration nation
A number of African governments have made efforts to encourage investment in the continent by entering into bilateral investment treaties and adopting arbitration legislation.
Occidental drops a claim but may strengthen suit vs government
US-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) has dropped a compensation claim against Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador in a move that analysts said may strengthen the oil firm’s case against the government.
IP rights under investment agreements: the TRIPS-plus implications for enforcement and protection of public interest
One of the issues that has recently started to influence the negotiations for new investment agreements involves the question of the status of IP rights and the impact of investment agreements on the rights, obligations and regulatory discretions of countries under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
International court rules in favor of Hungary in Telenor case
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has ruled in favor of the State of Hungary in a case brought against it by Norwegian telco Telenor, business daily Világgazdaság reported on Monday.
Oxus Gold seeks arbitration order to protect Kyrgyz investments
Mining company Oxus Gold PLC said it is seeking an arbitration order to protect its investments in Kyrgyzstan, following the government-sponsored seizure of premises owned by Talas Gold Mining Co, Oxus’ joint venture company at Jerooy. Oxus said that representatives of Jerooyaltyn, a recently created joint venture between Kyrgyzaltyn and Global G.o.l.d, and local police forcibly took possession of the building on Thursday in direct contravention of the UK-Kyrgyz Bilateral Investment Treaty and Kyrgyz law.
Ecuador Prez: No Oxy arbitration
Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio has rejected arbitration against his nation for annulling in May the contract with US Oxy oil company that operated there.
Analysis: Will UNCITRAL arbitrations become even more secretive?
Proposals tabled by the Vienna-based UNCITRAL Secretariat could make it more difficult for observers to discover and monitor international arbitrations taking place under the UNCITRAL rules.
Under RP-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement local settlement of disputes agreed on
The Philippines and Japan have agreed to settle all disputes domestically under the proposed Economic Partnership Agreement unless the Secretaries of Trade of both countries agree to bring the dispute to an international arbitration court.
Court denies Occidental bid for assets - Ecuador
An international arbitration court has rejected a request by Occidental Petroleum Corp. to stop Ecuador from seizing its assets in the Andean country, a government official said on Tuesday.
Azurix wins $165 million vs Argentina in latest ICSID ruling
Former Enron Corp. (ENE) water unit Azurix Corp. has been awarded $165 million against Argentina in the latest ruling on dozens of international arbitration claims brought against the country by foreign companies. A person familiar with the situation confirmed Tuesday that both parties were informed Monday of the decision by a tribunal at the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, or the ICSID.
Seoul reveals a lack of experience in FTA negotiations
"We are learning new things while we’re negotiating with the American representatives," said a Korean official who was part of the labor section negotiation team during the first round of the Korea-U.S. FTA talks, held in Washington last June. "The U.S. is demanding the introduction of a so-called ’public communication system,’ which was a term that we heard for the first time," the negotiator told Hankyoreh.