The UNASUR Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and Venezuela: Will Both Ever See the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

In: The Journal of World Investment & Trade
María Gabriela Sarmiento S.C. Sarmiento Núñez Consulting Caracas Venezuela Zurich Switzerland

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One of the objectives of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) is the creation of a regional dispute settlement centre to replace the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). To that end, UNASUR formed the High Level Experts Working Group on the Settlement of Investment Disputes whose efforts have thus far culminated in the November 2014 Draft Constitutive Agreement on the UNASUR Centre. This article analyses les enjeux politiques, it reviews the measures taken and the actions envisioned by UNASUR to change the much-criticised current system of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS), and describes in detail the 2014 Draft Constitutive Agreement. In addition, it examines the inherent conflict within UNASUR’s mandate: advance integration in the region, while respecting State sovereignty. That tension is particularly evident in the case of Venezuela, used in this article as an example for the challenges facing the UNASUR Centre.

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