Venezuela:

– Yesterday took place the first meeting summoned by the Presidential Commission for the Constituent with some political parties in order to start the discussions regarding the Constituent process. However, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD, in Spanish) and the parties conforming it were the biggest exception as, instead, they called for a new round of protests in the country to reject the conditions of the aforementioned process. The opposition coalition will hold more demonstrations this week and tomorrow they will try to reach the Supreme Court continuing with the protests against the Constituent.

Argentina:

– The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) rejected Argentina’s request for annulment and ordered the country to pay USD384mn (€350mn) over the breach of water contract in 2015 to Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar), Suez Environment and Vivendi. The dispute goes back to 2005 when these three companies asked the government to raise the tariffs, to which the government demanded for investment commitments. The lack of agreement between the parties ended with the decision from the government to cancel their contract for water and drainage provision, leading to the World Bank’s court. This decision sets the dispute closer to an end after over a decade of procedure.

Ecuador:

– The government will move forward to the termination of the Bilateral Investment Agreements (TBI in Spanish) in accord with a Supreme Court’s ruling that had declared such agreements as “unconstitutional”. According to the Coordinating Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent, Andrés Aráuz, the TBIs grant too many benefits to the transnational companies in detriment of the nation. In this regard, Cecilia Olivet, President of the Commission for the Audit of Investment Treaties, stated that the TBIs have not been decisive in attracting foreign investment to the country; and as an example, she explained that Ecuador is among the countries of the region with more TBI, but receives only 0.79% of the foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America. The main flow comes from Brazil, Mexico and Panama, countries with which Ecuador has no TBI.
– In other regard, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 0.43% m-o-m in April, above March’s result of 0.14% m-o-m. Nonetheless, in y-o-y terms, inflation remains below April 2016 (1.09% v 1.78%). The main drivers for April’s result were Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages and Education with 1.17% m-o-m and 1.35% m-o-m, respectively.
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