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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.


International investment agreements and their implications for tax measures
Most international investment agreements do not exclude taxation from their scope, which means that a wide range of tax-related measures are covered by them.
Canadian miner First Majestic wants to resolve its tax dispute with the SAT with international arbitration
Canadian mining company First Majestic Silver Corp submitted a request for arbitration based on NAFTA, due to the tax debt and its differences with the Mexican government.
World Bank body dismisses Agility’s claims against Iraq
Kuwaiti logistics company Agility’s claim to recover more than $380 million it said it lost in Iraq has been rejected by an international tribunal.
Mustaqeem de Gama, South African Mission in Geneva: “It is a bad idea for any African country to consider signing the Energy Charter Treaty”
Joining the Energy Charter Treaty is not in the public interest, according to South Africa’s government. It has also cancelled other agreements that allowed foreign investors to sue their state. This has not stopped investors from coming, says Mustaqeem de Gama.
Take action to end the climate-killing Energy Charter Treaty
Sign the petition to pull out of the Energy Charter Treaty and stop its expansion to other countries!
How Energy Treaty ’shadow’ courts prolong EU’s fossil age
The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states’ energy or climate policies.
India to contest Cairn Energy arbitration award, lawsuits in international court
The move signals the government’s resolve to defend its sovereign rights in taxation. The government has kept open possibility of settling the dispute within existing Indian laws.
Join the movement and sign the petition to #EndFossilProtection
A petition to ensure the Energy Charter Treaty will no longer be used against EU climate and energy policies is now available for supporters on the European Parliament website.
Cairn Energy files case in US to push India to pay $1.2 billion award
Cairn Energy has filed a case in a US district court to enforce a $1.2 billion arbitration award it won in a tax dispute against India, a court document showed, ratcheting up pressure on the government to pay its dues.
Commemoration of 10th anniversary of the first judgment declaring Texaco-Chevron guilty for its crime in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Ten years have passed since the judgment of Lago Agrio. Until today the oil company refuses to comply with the judgement; and, in turn, has chosen to activate a whole system that guarantees corporate impunity.
Chinese company claims US$55m from Ghana for cancellation of traffic management contract
A Chinese-based construction company, Beijing Everyway Traffic and Lighting Tech Co Ltd is claiming USD55 million from Ghana for cancelling a contract it awarded it to develop an intelligent traffic management system for the country.
Shell files arbitration claim against Nigeria over spill dispute
ROYAL Dutch Shell Plc launched arbitration proceedings against the Nigerian government over a long-running community dispute.
EU readies reforms to energy treaty as climate criticisms mount
Some governments have said the bloc should consider quitting the agreement because the treaty could threaten climate goals.
Record year for arbitration cases registered with ICSID
According to ICSID, there were 58 new cases registered with it last year, up from the previous record high of 56 in 2018 and the 39 recorded in 2019.
What do trade deals mean for FDI?
Categorical claims about the impact of trade deals on FDI are not supported by the evidence, which paints a nuanced and sometimes contradictory picture.
SK Innovation considers arbitration proceedings against Peruvian government
SK Innovation is considering initiating international arbitration proceedings against the Peruvian government for blocking the company’s exit from Camisea Gas Project in Peru.
Boholiubov, Kolomoisky intend to file $23 mln suit against the United States with ICSID for forfeiture actions targeting their assets – media
US Optima Ventures intend to file a lawsuit against the United States seeking compensation of $23 million in response to two civil forfeiture actions targeting their assets in Louisville.
Google could use ISDS to sue Australia for millions over regulation for payment of news content
Google’s Singapore subsidiary could use a controversial ISDS provision in the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement to demand millions in compensation over proposed Australian regulation for payment of news content.