NAFTA dispute damages to be paid to Corn Products

by Eric Schroeder
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WESTCHESTER, ILL. — Corn Products International, Inc. on March 26 said it received word that it would receive damages of $58.4 million related to a decision in its case against Mexico over violations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. When the decision was first announced in August 2009, the damages were set to be paid to Corn Products wholly owned subsidiary, CPIngredientes. The decision to make the damages payable directly to Corn Products will eliminate double taxation, the company said.

On Oct. 21, 2003, Corn Products submitted, on its own behalf and on behalf of its Mexican affiliate, CPIngredientes, S.A. de C.V., a Request for Institution of Arbitration Proceedings against Mexico. In the request, the company asserted that the imposition by Mexico of a discriminatory tax on beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup breached various obligations of Mexico under the investment protection provisions of NAFTA.

The case was split into two phases, liability and damages. A hearing on liability was held in July 2006. In a decision dated Jan. 15, 2008, the tribunal unanimously held that Mexico had violated NAFTA rules by treating beverages sweetened with HFCS produced by foreign companies differently than those sweetened with domestic sugar. A hearing regarding the amount of damages was held in July 2008 before the same tribunal.

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