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Published on September 10th, 2017 | by Olga Papadopoulou

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Life after ICSID: 10th anniversary of Bolivia’s withdrawal from ICSID

Kluwer Arbitration Blog

Life after ICSID: 10th anniversary of Bolivia’s withdrawal from ICSID

José Carlos Bernal Rivera (Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C.) and Mauricio Viscarra Azuga/August 12, 2017

It has been ten years since Bolivia denounced the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Convention (“ICSID Convention”), becoming the first country to withdraw from the ICSID Convention in history. True, several countries have never even signed the ICSID Convention in the first place (including large economies such as Brazil and India), but until 2007, no countries had denounced the treaty.  After Bolivia´s denunciation, Ecuador and Venezuela soon followed.

Several articles have touched upon the apparent crisis of ISDS in Latin American countries as a result of the ICSID withdrawals, and the attempt of UNASUR to establish a new regional investment arbitration center for South America. It would be interesting to analyze the influence of Bolivia´s withdrawal over foreign direct investment in the country, but any such analysis would need to factorize many features of the Bolivian economy and political environment. That task is not, by any means, an easy one.

Instead, we would like to use this brief article to “commemorate” the inauspicious anniversary of the first denunciation of the ICSID Convention, by describing Bolivia´s life after ICSID. In the last ten years, several international arbitration cases have been filed against Bolivia, and there are certain lessons to be learned from them, in connection to the denunciation of the ICSID Convention….

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