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Antigua asks for international support in WTO case against U.S.

24 May 2007

GENEVA – As reported by The International Herald Tribune: "The tiny Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda slammed the United States on Tuesday over its illegal restrictions on Internet gambling sites based overseas and asked other countries to join in seeking compensation from Washington for its failure to comply with global trade rules.

"Antigua, the smallest country to successfully litigate a case in the World Trade Organization's 12-year-history, also threatened to target American trademarks, copyrights and telecommunications companies after the WTO Tuesday formally adopted a landmark decision in March that the United States' continued restrictions on online gambling were illegal.

"'Not only do we think that members should press claims for compensatory adjustments as a matter of economic self-interest, but we also believe it is important that the process is made as difficult as possible for the United States,' Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua told the WTO's dispute settlement body.

"The gambling dispute is threatening to become one of the most complicated the WTO has ever handled and could soon spark a series of compensation negotiations between the United States and other trading powers such as the European Union.

"After losing the case, the U.S. announced that it would take an unprecedented legal step to change the international commitments it made as part of the 1994 GATS treaty regulating the trade in services among the 150 members of the WTO. As a result, the U.S. declined to challenge Tuesday's adoption of the Internet gambling ruling, because it says that its legal maneuver effectively ends the case.

"Juan Millan, a U.S. trade lawyer, told the Geneva-based trade body that the procedure — which no government had previously used to avoid a WTO ruling — was invoked 'in order to bring the United States into compliance and to resolve this dispute permanently…'

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Antigua asks for international support in WTO case against U.S. is republished from