A push by 39 WTO members, including China, Russia, the EU, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico to reintroduce formal discussions on investment facilitation at the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial conference has failed.
How fair is the investment arbitration system in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries? Are investor-state disputes balanced between national and corporate interests? LAC countries are among the most affected by the investment arbitration system, representing 28.6% of all known investor-state disputes around the world. In particular, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru account for 77.3% of the total number of claims against LAC countries. Analysis shows that the system so far heavily favours corporate interests. Investors have won in 70% of the cases brought against LAC countries. As a result, LAC States have already had to pay foreign companies 20.6 billion USD, which could cover Bolivia’s budget for health and education for four whole years.
The backlash from business and the opposition against Bolivia's trade policy with the EU was shrill enough to suggest that Bolivia had announced the end of external trade. Yet the Bolivian government's position is based on experience of the heavy costs of free trade for the majority of its citizens.
This study analyses existing legal means of holding European transnational companies liable for extraterritorial human rights violations. The authors examine four representative legal cases against European companies in Latin America that revolve around problems typical in the region.
The current paradigmatic crisis needs to be dealt with at the regional level. In this respect, Latin American movements have already mobilised and placed different models of development and integration at the centre of their struggle. However, the European Union model, whereby integration is geared towards the interests of transnational corporations, should be avoided.