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)

FPIF | 18-Dec-2006
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.
| 15-Aug-2006
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.
| 9-Aug-2006
"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.
| 31-Jul-2006
Vannessa Ventures Ltd. (the "Company") has an arbitral claim being heard in accordance with the rules of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, D.C. where Vannessa is requesting remedies under the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Venezuela and Canada.
Mondaq | 15-Jun-2006
It may be advantageous for foreign investors to pursue a claim under a Political Risk insurance policy and allow the insurers to recover subsequently under any applicable investment treaty by way of subrogation.
Khaleej Times | 5-Jan-2006
A high powered US delegation is arriving here on 18 of this month to hold talks with the Pakistani authorities to finalise the BIT, in the absence of which, Washington was unprepared to sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan.
| 16-Dec-2005
Given that CAFTA-DR passed only by a small margin, it is unclear how much support the U.S.-Andean FTA will have.
| 19-Oct-2005
Romania has won at the International Court of Arbitration in Washington, the case brought by the American company Noble Ventures that contested the Romanian state actions in the privatization process of Resita Steel Plant (CSR).
Dawn | 24-Aug-2005
Pakistan has asked the United States to sign the proposed Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) by dropping its demand that in case of an arbitration only the Washington based International Centre for Settlement of Disputes (ICSID) should be approached for a decision.
Montreal Gazette | 13-Aug-2005
The United States, such a paragon and champion of free trade when it comes to exporting its own products and services, evidently considers itself free unilaterally to ignore the rules when the umpire comes down against it.

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