Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Bridge Company NAFTA Press Release

It is no April Fool's day joke. It is getting very serious now.

I wonder if this NAFTA case will finally get Ottawa's attention. Or does our Conservative Government expect to be re-elected on an anti-American platform?

After Secretary Clinton's visit, someone in Ottawa or our DC Embassy ought to wake up!

Please note the sentence I emphasized which will give Edgar (aka Eddie) nightmares.

Bridge company claims Canada violated NAFTA, files arbitration claim

WARREN, Mich. – A new highway planned by Canadian authorities to service a proposed border crossing between Ontario and Michigan violates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because it discriminates against American investors in the nearby Ambassador Bridge, the bridge owners said.

The Detroit International Bridge Co. (DIBC), which owns and operates the Ambassador Bridge, filed a Claim of Arbitration under Chapter 11 of NAFTA on March 23.

DIBC seeks a determination that Canada has breached its obligations under NAFTA, an award of damages of at least $3.5 billion and other appropriate relief.

The arbitration arises from the decisions by Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Windsor to locate the parkway serving the proposed Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) so it steers traffic away from the Ambassador Bridge, DIBC said.

In May 2003, Transport Canada, the Canadian government transportation agency, committed to extend Highway 401 to facilitate access to the Ambassador Bridge. Relying on Canada’s promises, DIBC invested hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements in connection with the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project – the $230 million program to provide direct access to the bridge from the U.S. interstate highway system.

Canada cancelled the improvements to Huron Church Road and instead approved a new freeway linking Highway 401 with the proposed DRIC bridge. The road, commonly referred to as the Windsor-Essex Parkway, is proposed to be 11 kilometers long. The first 9 kilometers would run from Highway 401 directly toward the Ambassador Bridge, but 3 kilometers short, before turning south toward the proposed DRIC bridge.

The new DRIC bridge would be jointly owned by Canada and the U.S. DIBC alleges that Canada’s actions violate NAFTA by favoring Canadian investors in DRIC over the U.S. investors in the Ambassador Bridge, and by denying fair and equitable treatment to the U.S. investors in the Ambassador Bridge. The Ambassador Bridge is wholly owned by DIBC, a privately held U.S. company.

NAFTA prohibits actions of discrimination by the United States, Canada or Mexico against citizens or companies of one another and requires them to treat one another’s investors fairly and equitably. Discriminatory activities of government subdivisions of those nations such as states, provinces or municipalities make the nations themselves liable in damages under NAFTA.

NAFTA provides for arbitration by a three-person tribunal to resolve disputes under Chapter 11. The Secretary-General of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes will constitute the tribunal if the parties do not reach agreement on the panel within 90 days. NAFTA also includes a 90-day period for the parties to attempt to agree on a resolution of the dispute.