Canadian mining companies have USD $1.7 billion in pending investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) claims against Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

Chart from Institute for Policy Studies.

Of the six pending mining company arbitration claims against Colombia, four relate to Canadian companies.

Those are Vancouver-based Eco Oro Minerals and Red Eagle Mining and Toronto-based Galway Gold and GCM (formerly Grand Colombia Gold).

The US dollar amount of those pending claims total $1.7 billion.

NPR has reported: “[Colombian president Gustavo Petro] wants to make changes to Colombia’s relations with the United States by seeking a renegotiation of a free trade agreement.”

While the free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia (that came into force on August 15, 2011) may not have appeared in recent news articles, there are numerous references to concerns about Colombia’s free trade agreement with the United States.

The Canada-Colombia free trade agreement was signed on November 21, 2008.

One of those who came to Canada to speak against the free trade agreement was Yessika Hoyos Morales who is a lawyer with the PBI-Colombia accompanied José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR).

During a visit to Ottawa in May 2009, she stated: “If Canada ratifies the free trade agreement it will give a message to Colombians and to the whole international community that Canada supports a government that violates human rights.”

Despite this, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government passed the implementation act for the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement with the support of the opposition Liberals (under then leader Michael Ignatieff) on June 14, 2010.

The Liberals sought an annual human rights report as part of their support, but notably it specifically excludes the deal’s foreign investment chapter and focuses instead on the potential impacts of tariff reductions.

At that time, the NDP stated: “It’s a sham. Investment is a very big part of our trade with Colombia and to arbitrarily exclude that is another indicator that the government has no intention of producing a real report.”

We continue to follow this.

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