Uber sues Colombia before international arbitration committee over suspension order

Taxi app Uber is suing Colombia before an international arbitration committee, claiming that  a recent order to suspend its services is in violation of the free trade agreement with the United States.

Colombia’s Superintendency for Industry and Commerce (SIC) ordered the immediate suspension of services of the US company last month, claiming it was competing unfairly with local taxi companies.


Uber continues operations in Colombia despite ‘immediate’ suspension order


The company initially said it would appeal the decision before a Colombian judge, but reportedly wrote to  President Ivan Duque that it will also challenge the decision before the so-called International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank.

According to W Radio, the US company believes the SIC’s decision was arbitrary, politically motivated and detrimental to its investments in Colombia.

The Republic’s arbitrary and discriminatory measures against Uber have been taken in the face of political pressure from domestic interests so that the Republic bans Uber in Colombia and annuls Uber’s investments.

Uber

State Defense Attorney Camilo Gomez confirmed the suit and told newspaper El Tiempo that any case brought before the ICSID requires a six-month reconciliation period that would allow the foreign investor and the destination country to resolve its dispute.

Meanwhile, the Bogota court considering Uber’s appeal will presumably continue to consider the appeal of the US company that has found itself allegedly violating domestic laws and regulations all over the world.

According to El Tiempo, Gomez said that Uber failed to fully formulate its ICSID suit that would justify its claim that “Colombia is failing to comply with its obligations enshrined in the treaty.”

But by invoking the ICSID, Uber forces the national government to negotiate a solution that could include revised legislation to prevent a court confirmation the company is violating fair competition laws.

Gomez told El Tiempo that he would first talk to the SIC before engaging in talks with Uber and Trade Minister Jose Manuel Restrepo.

The US company has long claimed that Colombian Government and Congress have failed to modernize legislation that would allow the company to offer its services in the country in compliance with the law.

The taxi app’s problems in  complying with regulations in Colombia have been dragging on for years and are not unique to Colombia.

A regional court in Germany sunk Uber’s deal with taxi drivers in December last year after another court banned its core services in 2015.

In November last year, a London court revoked its license after concluding it wasn’t “fit and proper” to provide taxi services for failing to properly vet drivers. Also in the British capital the service reportedly continued operating while awaiting an appeal.

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