By teleSUR / Heather Gies 

The Central American country of El Salvador could be forced to pay US$301 million to Canadian-Australian mining multinational OceanaGold as the two face off in a World Bank investor-state tribunal with proven tendency to favor corporate interests over arguments for protecting national sovereignty, the environment, and human rights.

The pending case in El Salvador gives a glimpse into what can likely be expected if controversial trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) go through. With strong “investor protections,” the TPP and TTIP will pave the way for many more instances of investor-state settlements that allow companies to sue governments for billions through highly secretive hearings and supra-national courts.

The number of such corporate lawsuits levelled against countries in the World Bank’s little-known International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has skyrocketed over the past decade. According to Mining Watch, while just three cases where brought to the body in the year 2000, this climbed to 169 cases in 2013.