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Corporate Bias in the World Bank Group's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes: A Case Study of a Global Mining Corporation Suing El Salvador

16 Pages Posted: 4 May 2015  

Robin Broad

American University - Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS); American University - School of International Service

Date Written: March 25, 2015

Abstract

This paper focuses on the main venue for investor-state dispute settlement: the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), beginning with a brief history of ICSID, from its birth fifty years ago to the present moment. The paper provides a detailed case study of what transpired after El Salvador’s government did not approve a mining concession for a Canadian mining company and subsequently implemented an environmentally inspired de-facto moratorium on metals mining.

Based on field work in El Salvador and in Washington, D.C., the author presents the Salvadoran case study by moving from the local level to the national level in El Salvador, and then to the global level to follow the investor-state suit filed at ICSID by Pac Rim Cayman (now owned by Canadian/Australian OceanaGold) against the Salvadoran government.

The author concludes with reflections on ICSID and investor-state dispute settlement in current and proposed trade and investment agreements. The paper’s analysis establishes significant ICSID bias:
(1.) In favoring corporations and commercial interests over both government and non-corporate non-governmental actors; and
(2.) In excluding consideration of vital, non-commercial interests such as the environment and the broader public good.

Keywords: investment disputes, corporations, world bank, mining, El Salvador, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)

JEL Classification: F02, F23, K33, O19

Suggested Citation

Broad, Robin, Corporate Bias in the World Bank Group's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes: A Case Study of a Global Mining Corporation Suing El Salvador (March 25, 2015). University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, 2015 Forthcoming; School of International Service Research Paper No. 2015-3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2585107

Robin Broad (Contact Author)

American University - Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

American University - School of International Service ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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