Bolivia found to be in Breach of the UK-Bolivia BIT, by Antonio Delgado

On 31 January 2014, an arbitral tribunal consisting of arbitrators José-Miguel Júdice, President, Manuel Conthe and Raúl Vinuesa, found Bolivia liable under the UK-Bolivia bilateral investment treaty for the unlawful expropriation of the 50 per cent stake owned by Rurelec, a UK power investor, in the Bolivian electricity generation company Empresa Eléctrica Guaracachi SA (“EGSA”). According to Rurelec, it is the first known investment treaty case against the state to reach a final award.[1] Continue reading

Awaiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, by Antonio Delgado

Last month, the leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam announced that the negotiations for completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) were on track. Progress was made on the legal texts and annexes that will regulate a diverse range of sectors that include goods and services, investment, financial services, government procurement, and temporary entry markets. The focus of the TPP is now aimed at resolving the outstanding issues and achieving a final agreement by the end of this year.[1] Continue reading

Bolivian President defends recent nationalizations, by José Ángel Rueda

Today we would just like to share with our readers some news coming from the current European tour of President Evo Morales of Bolivia. In this regard it is reported that, both in Vienna, Austria on 11 March 2013[1] and in Paris, France on 12 March 2013,[2] Mr. Morales has defended the string of nationalizations decreed by the Bolivian Government in recent months.  Continue reading

Remarks on the latest expropriation of foreign-owned assets in Bolivia, by José Ángel Rueda

As already reported,[1] on 18 February 2013 the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia agreed to expropriate and nationalize Servicios de Aeropuertos Bolivianos, S.A. (SABSA), a Bolivian company which was granted concessions to run airports in La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba. SABSA was ultimately controlled by Spanish companies Abertis and AENA from 2004 until the date of nationalization.  Continue reading

Provisional application of the EU-Peru FTA from 1 March 2013 announced, by José Ángel Rueda

On 28 February 2013 the European Commission announced the provisional application as of 1 March 2013 of the free trade agreement (the “FTA”) signed by the EU (and its 27 Member States) and Peru on 26 June 2012.[1] Although the FTA was also signed by Colombia it will not be provisionally applicable with this country until Colombia ratifies it later this year.  Continue reading

Newest expropriation of foreign-owned assets in Bolivia, by José Ángel Rueda

The Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia has agreed to expropriate and nationalize Servicios de Aeropuertos Bolivianos, S.A. (SABSA), a Bolivian company which was granted concessions to run airports in La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba.[1] SABSA was until the date of expropriation under control of two Spanish companies, Abertis (90%) and AENA (10%), through holding company TBI. Continue reading

Investors, 6 – States, 0: Tribunals Unanimously Uphold the Use of the MFN Clause under the Spain-Argentina BIT, by José Ángel Rueda

OVERVIEW

Amid rumours of Argentina’s upcoming denunciation of the ICSID Convention after many awards and decisions rendered against that country, it is advisable to reflect about the current status of the Maffezini doctrine within its original context, i.e., the Spain-Argentina (or, reciprocally, the Argentina-Spain) BIT.[1]

So far, six Arbitral Tribunals have accepted that investors (whether Argentinean or Spanish) may benefit from the MFN Clause included in Article IV(2) of the BIT to bypass a required 18-month period of litigation within the host State courts before resorting to international arbitration (ICSID or ad hoc under the UNCITRAL Rules of Arbitration). As far as it is known, to date no Arbitral Tribunal under the Spain-Argentina BIT has denied this solution, although a dissenting opinion was rendered for the first time in late December 2012.

The current score is, as indicated above, 6-0, a clear victory for investors against host States. It could lead us to affirm the existence of jurisprudence constante in this legal issue, at least under the Spain-Argentina BIT. Nonetheless, this post intends only to update the reader on this topic and is deliberately open for further research, analysis and debate. Continue reading

Additional remarks regarding expropriation of foreign-owned assets in Bolivia in late 2012, by José Ángel Rueda

Following our post dated 4 January 2013,[1] the online edition of the official journal of the Plurinational State of Bolivia has published the text of Supreme Decree No. 1448 whereby the Government of Bolivia expropriated shares in four Bolivian companies owned by Spanish energy company Iberdrola through its Bolivian subsidiary Iberbolivia de Inversiones.[2]

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New expropriation of foreign-owned companies in Bolivia, by José Ángel Rueda

Just before the end of last year, on 29 December 2012, President Evo Morales of Bolivia signed Supreme Decree No. 1448 whereby the Government of Bolivia took control of four private-owned electricity companies[1]:

  • Electricidad de La Paz (Electropaz);
  • Empresa de Luz y Fuerza Eléctrica de Oruro, Sociedad Anónima (ELFEO);
  • Compañía Administradora de Empresas Bolivia, Sociedad Anónima (CADEB); and,
  • Empresa de Servicios, Sociedad Anónima (EDESER).

Majority stakes thereof belonged at the time of the expropriations to Iberbolivia de Inversiones, Sociedad Anónima, a company subsidiary of Spanish energy company Iberdrola[2]:

  • Electropaz: 89.05%;[3]
  • ELFEO: 92.84%;
  • CADEB: 93.49%; and,
  • EDESER: 89.39%.

Continue reading