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.