The most relevant updates of The Americas from the global International Arbitration and ADR practice group at Garrigues.

BOLIVIA

Spanish Bank giant BBVA files treaty claim on pensions management against Bolivia

Bolivia is facing its first new claim at ICSID in years, brought by Spanish banking group BBVA over the transfer of management of pensions.

According to a press release issued by the Spanish bank, the ICSID claim has been filed under the Spain-Bolivia Bilateral Investment Treaty. While the amounts in dispute are unknown, the pensions investment is believed to be in the region of US$8.7 billion.

CHILE

Chile denies ICSID jurisdiction in Santiago transport system arbitration

Our Chile team has come across Chile´s arguments filed before the ICSID on June 2018 in a dispute involving a treaty claim filed under the Chile-Colombia Bilateral Investment Treaty worth US$330million filed by investors Carlos Ríos and Francisco Javier Ríos (ICSID Case N° ARB/17/16) to deny the court´s jurisdiction.In its counter-memorial, Chile argued that claimants failed to renounce in writing the possibility to starting or continuing other dispute resolution mechanisms and had actually filed administrative claims before Chilean authorities. Chile also argued that the requisites under the Chile-Colombia Bilateral Investment Treaty were not met since the investors knew or ought to have known about the situation allegedly supporting their claim before 2014 and the claim was brought only after three years and would therefore have been time-barred.According to the Procedural Order dated 2 July 2018, the claimants will need to file their response on the jurisdiction issue, together with their claim on the merits, latest by 14 September 2018.

COLOMBIA

Colombia faces new treaty claim by Odebrecht

Brazilian construction company Odebrecht has threatened to bring a US$1.3 billion treaty claim against Colombia over measures taken involving alleged bribery of government officials by the latter.Odebrecht has accused Colombia of violating an Investment Protection Treaty signed with Spain, allowing it to make the demand through its Spanish unit. They claim there is a series of acts by the Colombian state that have violated international law and that have generated an expropriation situation.

ECUADOR

Ecuador and Canadian mining company settle UNCITRAL treaty claim

On 19 July 2018, Canadian mining company Copper Mesa Mining Corporation entered into a settlement agreement with Ecuador and asked the US District Court for the District Court of Columbia to stay enforcement proceedings to enforce the UNCITRAL award obtained in 2016 in favour of the mining company.

The arbitral tribunal found that Ecuador had unlawfully expropriated Copper Mesa’s investments in two copper mining projects in the country and breached the fair and equitable treatment provision of the 1996 Canada-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty. It awarded US$19.4 million, which is now closer to US$25 million considering pre- and post-award interest.

The parties have asked the court for a stay of proceedings until 30 November to allow completion of the settlement terms.

URUGUAY

Uruguay hit with treaty claim by UK mining company

Uruguay´s President Tabaré Vázquez has recently revealed that the UK owners of a mining company Minera Aratiri have made good on a threat to bring a US$3.5 billion investment treaty claim against the state over a concession to mine for iron ore and facilitate its transportation to other parts of the world.

USA

New York court asked by French Safran to stay an ICC arbitration

French defence company Safran and its German unit have asked a New York court to stay an ICC arbitration filed against them in the city, while compelling an ad hoc arbitration that began in Paris weeks before – both concerning a dispute under a 25 year-old technology licence.

Venezuela

Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA settles ICC claim with US Conoco Phillips

According to press releases issued on 20 August 2018, Venezuela’s state-owned oil group PDVSA and US energy company ConocoPhillips have reached a settlement to pay the full US$2 billion awarded to the latter by an ICC tribunal in April 2018.The case relates to the nationalization of Conoco assets dating back over a decade in Venezuela. The settlement means that Conoco will suspend the legal enforcement, as long as PDVSA makes regular payments.