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The NAFTA Case

In January 2019, Odyssey filed a Notice of Intention (NOI) to file a claim against Mexico under Chapter XI of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In April 2019, the company filed a Notice of Arbitration (NOA). 


On September 4, 2020, Odyssey filed the First Memorial in the case brought against Mexico under NAFTA on its behalf and on behalf of subsidiary Exploraciones Oceánicas (ExO), alleging that Mexico wrongfully denied environmental approval of the ExO Phosphate project in breach of NAFTA. Odyssey seeks damages of more than $2.3 billion, including interest from April 2016 to the date of the First Memorial's submission. A press release from Odyssey can be found here

Odyssey's legal team, consisting of specialized international arbitration lawyers from Cooley LLP and King & Spalding LLP, handled the case. All filings related to the case were accessible through the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) website.

After three years of preparation and multiple written filings, including documentary evidence plus reports and statements from 20 experts and witnesses, the Tribunal heard directly from Odyssey, select experts and witnesses during a NAFTA Tribunal hearing in January 2022. During the hearing, Odyssey's legal team also had the opportunity to cross-examine Mexico's witnesses. The hearing was not public, which precludes Odyssey from reporting or commenting on them further. 


In September 2022, Odyssey submitted its post-hearing brief, marking the final substantive submission in the case.


On October 6, 2023, Odyssey received a letter from ICSID advising that the Tribunal is well advanced in drafting the Award and expects to issue the Award in the first quarter of 2024. ICSID also informed the Claimant that it would be notified of any change to the timing estimate provided


On January 24, 2024, The Guardian UK published an article about Odyssey's NAFTA arbitration claim against Mexico which contained several misleading omissions and inaccuracies. Odyssey sent a letter requesting corrections to the publication which can be viewed here

On March 8, 2024, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (“Odyssey”) received a letter from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) relating to the claim of Odyssey and Exploraciones Oceánicas S. de R.L. de C.V., a subsidiary of Odyssey (“ExO” and, together with Odyssey, the “Claimant”), against the United Mexican States under Chapter Eleven of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Odyssey cannot predict the outcome of the arbitration, but the company remains confident in the merits of its case.

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