Local August 21, 2012 | 8:04 am

US$45.0M highway toll dispute reaches the U.S. Congress

SANTO DOMINGO.- The litigation between Dominican Republic and the company Codacsa which led to its loss of the right to collect the Las Americas highway toll has reached the U.S. Congress, where the Senate Committee on Hemispheric Affairs is pressing to execute the arbitration award ordering the Dominican Government to pay that company US$45.0 million in damages.

The case was presented at a meeting in the U.S. Senate as one of the examples set by that Committee’s chairman, Robert Menendez of why Washington has to exert pressure when a country tries to ignore the international arbitration court’s verdicts awarding U.S. companies.

Menendez called on Matthew Rooney and Francisco Sanchez, the US State Department officials who participated in a hearing, to pressure from the directories of International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank to execute the ruling.

"If you send a message that you cannot, with impunity, and continue to violate trade agreements and arbitral awards agreed as a process, if these countries can get away with it, they will. That puts U.S. companies at tremendous disadvantage," said the chairman of the Subcommittee.

"They have an international arbitration award in the case of Codacsa, which was building a road there, which has U.S. investors and are not willing to comply with the international arbitration decision, which ruled in favor of the company," U.S. legislator said during the July 31 session.

The conflict and arbitration

An international arbitration court ruled to rescind the concession for the construction of the Coral highway and repairs for the Americas highway and instead ordered the Dominican government to pay $45.0 million in compensation and ordered Codacsa to return the toll collection it had managed since 2003.

The Public Works Ministry took over the toll collection from the company two weeks ago, but Codacsa demands the payment in adherence to the ruling by the arbitration court.

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