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  • Writer's pictureColombia Risk Analysis

Special Report: Colombia's International Legal Troubles

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Foreign companies and investors are able to submit claims, often for large sums of money, against the Colombian government in the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) when they perceive a breach of contract. Colombia and the other countries that have agreed to join this initiative do so because the added security ostensibly encourages foreign investment.

At the beginning of this year, Colombia had 11 claims pending against it in ICSID, with two more being filed in March. The majority of these claims have come to the administration of President Iván Duque as an inheritance from its predecessors. Nevertheless, Duque's technocratic economic platform has been weakened by political infighting and public resistance, in addition to structural inconsistencies - limiting possibilities to avoid or respond to these claims. 

Additionally, a problematic economic issue underlies ICSID claims against Colombia: potential awards would force the government to rethink its economic strategy as the country cannot presently afford paying awards should plaintiffs win the disputes. A complex international panorama and hot-button domestic issues further condition the administration's options and open the door to future lawsuits.

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