Position of REDES – Friends of the Earth Uruguay on the recent ICSID decision

Source: Redes.org.uy

July 10, 2013

Bad news for Uruguay and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

The announcement by the arbitration tribunal of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank body, that it has jurisdiction to decide on the claim filed by US tobacco company Philip Morris, based in Switzerland, against the Uruguayan State shows once again the intrinsically pro-company and anti-popular bias of the investment arbitration system in general, and of this World Bank tribunal in particular, and it clearly constitutes a defeat for Uruguay, a threat for the health of our population and a huge victory for the transnational company.

Despite the solid arguments by the defense, the ICSID tribunal ruled against Uruguay and decided to hear Philip Morris’ demands, disregarding the fact that the bilateral investment treaty between Switzerland and Uruguay -which the tobacco company used to base its claim-, unequivocally states in its Article 2 that public health measures cannot be challenged by investors as an indirect expropriation of their investments.