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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.


Appeal in ISDS: Appealing for the host state?
The basis of a claim in ISDS is always the applicable international investment agreement. There would always be differences and inconsistencies with an appellate mechanism.
Efforts under way to get Reko Diq case penalty cancelled: AG Khalid Jawed Khan
Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan has said that Pakistan’s foremost effort in the Reko Diq mining case is to secure annulment of the $5.9 billion penalty.
UAH 460 mln AMCU fine is unreasonable, said the Director of Imperial Tobacco in Ukraine
Imperial Tobacco is working on available legal instruments of protection, including an international investment arbitration tribunal, to contest a fine imposed by Ukraine for anticompetitive concerted actions.
JCDecaux: €40m JCDecaux arbitration against the Czech Republic
JCDecaux SA, an outdoor advertising, invited the Czech Republic to engage in discussions, as the first step in arbitration proceedings.
Carlyle vs. Morocco: Here are the Kingdom’s arguments to ICSID
For the Kingdom, Carlyle did not justify the existence of investments in Morocco. The American group invokes the Morocco-United States free trade agreement while the contracts with Samir concern entities based in the Cayman Islands.
Naftogaz seeks nearly $8 bln for assets expropriated by Russia in Crimea
Ukraine’s joint stock oil and gas company Naftogaz said the group seeks nearly $8 billion of compensation for its assets expropriated by Russia in Crimea.
Exclusive: Chinese consortium Ecuagoldmining opens dispute with Ecuador over halted mine
Chinese mining consortium Ecuagoldmining has initiated a dispute with Ecuador’s government over a gold mining project that has been halted by objections from community activists.
New arbitration between Renco Group and Peru at the PCA
The arbitration between the US mining company Renco Group and Peru in relation to the metallurgical deposit in La Oroya was reopened, at the request of the mining company.
Court reinstates order for Russia to pay $50 bln over Yukos
A Dutch appeals court reinstated an international arbitration panel’s order that it should pay $50 billion compensation to shareholders in former oil company Yukos.
ExxonMobil, Canada enter landmark settlement in NAFTA arbitration
As a long-running dispute between Exxon Mobil Corp. and the government of Canada reached a multimillion-dollar settlement, lawyers for ExxonMobil announced.
Odebrecht takes Peru to arbitration over failed gas pipeline investment
Brazil construction company Odebrecht SA has taken Peru to arbitration over a failed $2 billion investment in a gas pipeline.
Uber ready to take dispute with Colombia to international arbitration: regional manager
The ride-hailing firm said its initial calculations suggest damages from suspending its service in Colombia will exceed $250 million.
ICSID approves Pakistan’s review plea against $6bn Reko Diq fine
The World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes has approved Pakistan’s petition for a review in the Reko Diq case in which the country was slapped with a $6 billion fine.
Letter from Africa CSOs and trade unions to African delegates at the UNCITRAL round
We civil society organizations and trade unions from the African continent express our concerns about the proposal presented by the European Union to establish a multilateral investment court and support further reaching reforms of ISDS.
Pakistan waives off over $1.26mn duty on Turkish company Karkey
Pakistan approved waiving off all port dues/charges amounting to Rs194,951,059 on 31-1-2020 or till the vessels leave the port accruing against Karkey.
CETA: Rights for Canadian multinationals
CETA strengthens the legal position of North American companies in the EU and exposes European governments and taxpayers to potential claims.
ISDS reform: Designing permanent institutions at Working Group III
The UNCITRAL Working Group III turned squarely to designing permanent institutions: a standing appellate mechanism and a multilateral investment court (MIC).
India inks first investment treaty with Brazil post-approval of new templates in 2015
India inked an Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Treaty with Brazil – the first one after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government in December 2015 approved a new template for such bilateral pacts.
Oil major settles huge capital gains tax bill to Vietnam after Finance Uncovered investigation
When Vietnam signalled it would claim the tax due, oil giant ConocoPhillips issued a pre-emptive legal strike using an arbitration process under the UK-Vietnam bilateral investment treaty.
The US drops ISDS
The US government used to be the chief proponent of strong investor protection clauses in international trade deals. No longer. What happened?