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.

Latin American Herald Tribune | 13-Mar-2014
In a 2-1 decision, the World Bank’s arbitration panel has rejected Venezuela’s request for "reconsideration" of its September 2013 finding that it had jurisdiction and that Venezuela was liable for the expropriation of ConocoPhillips’ investments in the Latin American nation.
Yonhap | 10-Mar-2014
La Corée du Sud va négocier avec les Etats-Unis la révision de la clause sur l’arbitrage investisseur-état (ISD) de leur accord de libre-échange (ALE), a fait savoir ce dimanche une source anonyme du ministère du Commerce, de l’Industrie et de l’Energie.
TNI | 10-Mar-2014
Corporations, backed by lawyers, use international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing Europe’s crisis countries.
| 6-Mar-2014
For a variety of reasons, including poor management of public perceptions, the administration’s trade agenda is in trouble. Much of the public’s antipathy toward trade agreements can be boiled down to concerns about the so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision. ISDS enables foreign investors to circumvent domestic legal processes and sue host governments in third-party arbitration tribunals for unfair or discriminatory treatment – described hyperbolically by those fanning the flames of opposition as “running roughshod over domestic laws, regulations, and sovereignty.”
BBC | 6-Mar-2014
A judge in the US has ruled that lawyers representing Amazonian villagers used bribes to secure compensation worth billions of dollars from oil company Chevron in Ecuador.
| 4-Mar-2014
Pakistan has sought a 20-day extension to file its reply to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against a damage claim of $2.1 billion filed by Turkish firm M/s Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim. The sources said Pakistan had to submit its reply to the international body by February 28, 2014 but it was delayed due to a change in legal firm.
AFL-CIO | 3-Mar-2014
Millions of Americans are hoping the US government will immediately initiate open and fruitful discussions on ISDS.
| 3-Mar-2014
Several local newspapers misread the recent decision by the Washington-based International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) as a verdict forcing the Indonesian government to pay over US$1 billion in compensation to the plaintiff, London-listed Churchill Mining Plc, in regard to its coal mining concessions in East Kalimantan.
New York Times | 25-Feb-2014
Repsol, the Spanish oil company agreed to a $5 billion compensation deal with Argentina for the seizure of the company’s operations in that country, ending a bitter two-year dispute.
Alliance News | 25-Feb-2014
The thermal coal producer said the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes rejected Indonesia’s jurisdictional challenges and it can now pursue claims for damages under the respective Bilateral Investment Treaties Indonesia entered into with the United Kingdom and Australia.

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