Update on Ecuador and the ATPA

I have previously noted the efforts by Chevron to tie the renewal of Ecuador’s preferential trade status under the Andean Trade Preference Act to the Lago Agrio litigation. The Office of the US Trade Representative recently issued a new request for public comment as it prepares a report to Congress on the operation of the ATPA program.

Several commenters submitted views to the USTR. Alfredo Lardizabal, CEO of MIC Food, supported renewal of the ATPA preferences. His company, which employs 20 people, imports “frozen plantain and yucca products,” feared that non-renewal would hurt his business. Olmedo Zambrano, general manager of Ecuadoran firm Eurofish S.A., took the same view; his company exports “tuna in pouch” to the United States and would take a hit if Ecuador lost its preference. Other comments from businesses were similar.

And then there was Chevron. As it did before, Chevron focused on Ecuador’s failure to comply with the award in the BIT arbitration; one of the statutory criteria for ATPA preferences is whether Ecuador “failed to act in good faith in recognizing as binding or in enforcing arbitral awards in favor of United States citizens or a corporation, partnership, or association which is 50 percent or more beneficially owned by United States citizens, which have been made by arbitrators appointed for each case or by permanent arbitral bodies to which the parties involved have submitted their dispute.”

We will continue to follow this corner of the saga.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Aaron Page

    How on earth is it fair and objective to cover this issue by linking to and quoting from Chevron’s submission, while simply ignoring the directly contrary submissionsand the Ec plaintiffs? The comments from Ecuadorian and American small businesses (apparently considered as acceptable collateral damage by Chevron in its pressure campagin against the ROE) are important, but as used here they just add to the appearance that you went out of your way to cover all viewpoints, when in fact you did not.

      1. Aaron Page

        Ok—the “scroll down” explanation didn’t occur to me, so my apologies. It is indeed an old debate at this point, although it’s frustrating that I don’t believe I’ve seen a substantive response anywhere from Chevron or its lobbyists and professors, or from the international arbitration community, as to what the Ecuadorian court ought to have done in the face of the conflict between human rights and investment law obligations that it identified. The suggestions are simply (i) pretend a conflict doesn’t exist, pure head-in-the-sand; or (ii) just submit to the demands. Neither takes the issue seriously.

  2. Aaron Page

    Also the links (which I think you formatted?) in my original post are a little messed up….

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