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Antigua, Barbuda Hits Back at US Laws

14 June 2006

ANTIGUA and BARBUDA – As reported by the Financial Times: "The tiny Caribbean island state of Antigua and Barbuda has taken the first steps to haul the US back before the world trade court in a long-running dispute over internet gambling.

"Antigua, which has a population of 68,000, says Washington has failed to comply with a World Trade Organisation ruling last year that US internet gambling laws discriminate against foreign suppliers. As a result, Antigua claims to have lost a large chunk of the rapidly growing offshore gaming business it has been building to diversify its economy away from tourism. US gamblers are estimated to account for about half the $12bn global internet gaming market.

"This week, Antigua requested meetings with the US, a prelude to the establishment of a WTO panel to judge compliance. If, after any appeals, the WTO finds the US still in breach of fair trade rules Antigua can ask for permission to retaliate.

"…Antigua is especially aggrieved because the US has taken no action to implement the WTO ruling, claiming - on the basis of an interpretive statement by the justice department - that its laws are already in compliance…"

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