Methanex v. United States: The Realignment of NAFTA Chapter 11 with Environmental Regulation

Dougherty, Kara | January 1, 2007

In July 1999, the Canadian firm Methanex Corporation (“Methanex”) notified the United States of its intention to seek approximately $1 billion in damages for the United States’s alleged breach of Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). NAFTA, a trilateral agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico (the “Parties”), gives private, foreign investors from each country the right to bring claims against another Party under certain circumstances. Methanex claimed a California measure banning the use of the gasoline additive MTBE discriminated against and expropriated its investments. The case of Methanex v. United States highlights two unintended structural shifts that have occurred under Chapter 11 jurisprudence.