On 1 March 2013 José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, paid an official visit to Morocco. At the end of the round of meetings held with H.M. King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Rabat, Mr. Barroso formally announced the launch of negotiations between the EU and Morocco for the conclusion of a so-called Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement or DCFTA (English for “Accord de Libre Échange Complet et Approfondi”).
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. 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 »
We would like to highlight that two oil and gas companies that sued Argentina at ICSID have announced new, multi-million investments in the country.
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. SABSA was until the date of expropriation under control of two Spanish companies, Abertis (90%) and AENA (10%), through holding company TBI. Continue reading »
The European Union and the United States of America have agreed to launch negotiations with the aim of entering into a free trade agreement to be called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Official statements and news reports published during the last five days indicate that Germany reaffirms that the so-called Fraport case is not an obstacle for the deepening of trade and investment relations with the Philippines.
Such conclusion is the outcome of the official visit that German Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle paid to the Philippines on 7-8 February 2013 where he met President Benigno Aquino and Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario.
The aim of this paper is to review all the protective provisions found mostly in all BITs, whether coming from customary international law or enunciated through the BIT itself in order to illustrate the implications of those provisions so that a proper understanding of the obligations imposed therein on the host States can be illustrated.
ICSID has published a new set of statistics about its caseload during 2012 and the aggregate since it was created by the Washington Convention in 1965.
CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños in Spanish / Comunidade dos Estados Latino-Americanos e Caribenhos in Portuguese), has called for the creation of an investment dispute settlement centre for Latin America and the Caribbean.
During the last stop of her recent African tour IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde attended the fifth regional conference of finance ministers and central bank governors of the Maghreb region in Nouakchott, Mauritania where she again called for more foreign direct investment (FDI) towards Africa, this time to the Maghreb.
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.
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 »
Following our post dated 4 January 2013, 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.
With support from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Department of International Law of the Organization of American States (OAS) has launched a new website in English and Spanish about the enforceability of international commercial arbitration awards in Latin America: http://www.oas.org/en/sla/dil/international_commercial_arbitration.asp.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has wrapped up an official tour to Africa. To date two speeches delivered by Mrs. Lagarde during her tour have been published at IMF’s website: the first one before the Malawian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Lilongwe on 5 January 2013 and the second one before the National Assembly of Ivory Coast in Abidjan on 7 January 2013.
Investment treaties provide a way for investors to mitigate sovereign risk problems, including those arising from changing regulatory frameworks. Companies investing in Africa may be able to structure their investment to take advantage of the protections provided by over 400 bilateral investment treaties which African countries have entered into with developed countries. For example, Egypt has entered into over 100 investment treaties, with both developed and developing countries, while Nigeria has entered into more than 20 such treaties, including with France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Continue reading »
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:
- 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:
- Electropaz: 89.05%;
- ELFEO: 92.84%;
- CADEB: 93.49%; and,
- EDESER: 89.39%.
Following our post on the upcoming entry into force of EU Regulation 1219/2012 we hereby offer a short summary regarding its impact on the BITs signed by Spain with third countries (i.e., excluding those BITs signed with current or upcoming EU Member States).
On 20 December 2012 the Official Journal of the EU published Regulation No. 1219/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 establishing transitional arrangements for bilateral investment agreements between Member States and third countries: