Often partnered with White & Case, this firm has become local counsel of choice for the Peruvian government in investment disputes
One of Peru’s more traditional corporate and banking heavyweights, Estudio Echecopar’s international disputes profile rests largely on the reputation of Eduardo Ferrero Costa. A member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague since 1997, he’s served as Peru’s ambassador to the US and its permanent representative at the Organization of American States. Ferrero frequently assists the Peruvian government in international disputes: he’s part of the delegation at the International Court of Justice for Peru’s maritime boundary dispute with Chile and, with White & Case, helped broker the deal with Yale University for the return of Inca artefacts taken from Machu Picchu by explorer Hiram Bingham.
The relationship with White & Case has proved particularly fruitful. In 2008, the two firms helped Peru demolish a US$140 million ICSID claim by Aguaytia Energy, a subsidiary of the US’ Duke Energy. (Duke brought another ICSID claim on the same facts, for which Peru used different counsel; in that other case, the state lost.)
A string of co-counsel instructions has followed, including three new treaty claims in the past year. The firms are defending Peru in ICSID claims by Dubai Ports World, Spanish-owned power transmission company Caravelí and Argentine road builder CCI, as well as an UNCITRAL claim by the US’ Renco Group. The Renco case is the first to be brought under the US-Peru trade promotion agreement and concerns liability for environmental remediation in the Andean city of La Oroya – said to be one of the world’s most polluted places.
Estudio Echecopar is also defending various Peruvian government entities against a US$198 million claim by Vancouver’s Inca Pacific Resources in a dispute over a copper concession. That case is being administered by Peru’s national mining institute, Indemipe.
The practice group is led by María del Carmen Tovar Gil, while partner Ana María Arrarte is also regarded internally as a rising star. Another member of the team, Alfonso de los Heros, is a member of the ICSID list of conciliators and arbitrators.