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Argentina takes the offensive as Siemens pleads guilty to corruption charges
Argentina has refused calls by Siemens to suspend proceedings at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in which a committee is considering Argentina’s request to revise a 2007 award, following the admission by the German firm that it had bribed Argentinean officials.
Out of order
Is there a backlash brewing against the international legal system used by states and investors to settle FDI disputes? For several years, lawyers and academics have been debating whether the current system - consisting of more than 2600 bilateral investment protection treaties - is ensuring the security and protection of investor assets and contracts without unnecessarily handcuffing the sovereignty of governments to regulate business activity within their borders.
Investment protection - Bilateral Investment Treaties
There is a Slovak proverb which says: “When catching a bird, they sing it a sweet song”. Another Slovak proverb says: “Those who want to beat a dog will certainly find a club“. For investors who find themselves in a situation similar to that described by these proverbs, the bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) very often provide the last available legal option. A BIT is an agreement establishing the terms and conditions for private investment by nationals and companies of one state in the state of the other.
The wrongful acts of independent state entitites
In spite of the fact that consent is the main building block of arbitration, arbitral awards have been steady for some years that a claimant need not have a contractual relationship with a respondent state to initiate arbitral proceedings versus this state, i.e. states unexpectedly were made respondents in arbitrations under arbitration clauses they have never approved or even bargained.
German investors remain lukewarm until Fraport is ‘fairly compensated’
Until the Philippine government and Fraport AG (Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide) have resolved all the legal issues and Fraport fairly compensated, the NAIA Terminal 3 is unlikely to attract long term locators, according to German ambassador to the Philippines Christian Ludwig Weber-Lortsch.
New Delhi plans to join Investment Disputes Convention
New Delhi is considering a proposal to join the World Bank convention, International Convention on Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Ecuador: Icsid panel claims it has jurisdiction in OXY case
A panel from the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or Icsid, said late Tuesday that it has jurisdiction for the claim of the US-based oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) against Ecuador.
Biwater fails in Tanzanian damages claim
A British water company thrown out of Tanzania over a bungled privatisation deal has failed in its bid to win up to £10m in damages.
Banished Zimbabwe farmer to sue country
South African taxpayers may have to pay millions of rands in compensation for the government’s failure to act in Zimbabwe when hundreds of white-owned farms belonging to South Africans were confiscated in 2000.
Experts: Exxon case has to be addressed in the ICSID
While it is a US company, Exxon Mobil is entitled to invoke protection under the Netherlands-Venezuela Investment Promotion and Protection Convention, which guarantees resolution of Exxon Mobil’s dispute with Venezuela in the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Concern grows over global trade regulation
Amid the noisy battering the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) is taking from both Democratic presidential hopefuls, one recent statement from Hillary Clinton was particularly resonant. "We will have a very clear view of how we’re going to review Nafta," the New York senator said. "We’re going to take out the ability of foreign companies to sue us because of what we do to protect our workers."
Canada strengthens investor protections
Canada has just passed legislation implementing the ICSID Convention, a very important tool for the resolution of investor-state disputes. But the government has not yet indicated a timetable for ratification of the treaty. To date, only four provinces and one territory have passed similar implementing legislation.
The story of a Dutch letterbox which could cost Bolivia a fortune
Running their business via a letterbox company in the Netherlands, transnational corporations profit from the corporate-friendly Dutch tax regime and bilateral investment treaties the Netherlands has with third countries. Euro Telecom Italia (ETI), a subsidiary of Italian telecoms giant ENTEL, is one such letterbox company. ETI recently lodged a complaint with the World Bank tribunal ICSID against Bolivia for compensation, after the Bolivian government had launched a review the company’s much-criticised performance and attempted to negotiate a buy back of what used to be a public telecommunications company.
The launch of a book on the impact of ICSID on human rights
In its introduction the book explains how international financial institutions act like tailors charged with fitting out transnationals with tailor-made suits.
Govt may face ‘claims worth billions’ from foreign firms
Foreign companies operating in South Africa that have lost production and ultimately profit as a result of the power supply crisis might be able to sue the government under bilateral investment treaties
863 citizen groups call on World Bank president to respect Bolivia’s withdrawal from arbitration court
More than 800 citizens groups from 59 countries on every continent presented a petition on Tuesday, January 15 to World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick, expressing concerns about the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), whose Administrative Council Mr. Zoellick chairs.
WB junks Fraport’s Naia 3 claim
The World Bank has dismissed the claim for compensation from the Philippine government over the Naia Terminal 3 project of Germany’s Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide (Fraport)
SA faces R80m claim for Zimbabwe farm loss
A Free State farmer who had farms in Zimbabwe repossessed is taking SA’s government to court to try to force it to ratify a treaty designed to protect South African investments abroad.
Bias seen in int’l dispute arbiters
A little known entity closely affiliated with the World Bank that mediates disputes between sovereign nations and foreign investors appears to be skewed toward corporations in Northern countries, according to an IPS review of pending cases and other independent analyses of the tribunals.
Ecuador pursues trade-preference extension but faces critics in Congress
Ecuador is furiously lobbying members of Congress to extend trade preferences, set to run out at the end of the month, that are intended to counter narcotics trafficking.