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
Date Written: March 25, 2015
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: Suggested Citation