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.

Photo: Public Citizen

(April 2020)

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung | 8-Feb-2023
Investor rights in the expired North American Free Trade Agreement continue to undermine democratic decision-making and climate policy in Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
The American Prospect | 3-Feb-2023
The president has promised not to put anti-democratic investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms in future trade deals. But they are still in many existing ones.
CIAR Global | 27-Jan-2023
La compañía estadounidense United Health Group ha enviado una Notificación de arbitraje al Gobierno chileno después de que, a finales de diciembre, este grupo al que pertenecen Banmédica y Vida Tres -dos aseguradoras de salud conocidas en Chile como Isapres: Instituciones de Salud Previsional privadas-, anunciara su intención de recurrir a arbitraje de inversiones contra Chile.
Armenpress | 27-Jan-2023
This arbitration case related to the construction of the railway and highway construction projects was initiated in accordance with the investment treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Armenia.
The Hill Times | 25-Jan-2023
Controversial ISDS provisions are trumpeted for protecting Canadian foreign investments, but are panned for allowing companies to sue countries.
Caribbean National Weekly | 25-Jan-2023
The developers of the hotel project in Grenada say while an amiable settlement remains open, the “extensive damage to the project caused by the actions of the former government has severely complicated and handicapped the efforts towards settlement.
Saskia Bricmont | 25-Jan-2023
This report analyzes the proposed interpretive guidance on the Investment Chapter of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.
Saskia Bricmont | 25-Jan-2023
La déclaration en voulant clarifier les choses crée de nouvelles zones de flou et, en définitive, tout dépend de la conception que les arbitres devant régler un différend précis se font du lien entre la transition et la protection des investissements.
El Economista | 24-Jan-2023
La USTR dijo que funcionarios estadounidenses continúan trabajando con sus homólogos mexicanos para abordar las “graves preocupaciones” con las políticas de biotecnología de México.

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