The Paraguayan government has announced that it will file a Request for Arbitration against Argentina before the Mercosur  Permanent Review Tribunal due to the Argentinian government’s unilateral toll collection. The governments of Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay have issued a joint press release about waterborne transportation along the Paraguay-Paraná waterway, and Argentina’s restrictive navigation measures. Translation provided by JIGGSLAW®.

Paraguay’s president, Santiago Peña, confirmed in a thread on his X account on September 8 that ” we will file a Request for Arbitration concerning the Paraguay-Paraná waterway toll matter”. The request, according to the head of state, will be filed “before the Mercosur Tribunal and against Argentina for breach of the Asunción Treaty, which guarantees free trade and navigation of our rivers.”

The toll collection is “unilaterally and arbitrarily set aside of the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Agreement and other in force international regulatory provisions” according to the document issued by the four states.

They are referring to an order of embargo imposed on a Mercurio Group vessel carrying oil that has not paid the toll: “because it is a restriction on the freedom of movement of strategic and sensitive goods for a signatory state that has an agreed-upon supply of oil and that can affect the price of such supply, which represents a severe involvement that increases such a state’s vulnerability due to its landlocked country status.” 

According to media reports, this is the third vessel to be seized for this reason. In previous cases, companies paid their obligations within in a matter of days (see “Argentina embargó otro convoy paraguayo sobre el río Paraná que se niega a pagar el peaje en el tramo norte de la hidrovía”, Dinamicarg, 08.09.2023).

Finally, the four countries request that Argentina suspend the orders that are encouraging the toll payments to ensure navigation and transit.

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