Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 2:10 PM
Subject: WTO Deal A U.S. National Security Threat?? - a gentle reprisal
Re: WTO Deal A U.S. National Security Threat?? Feb. 6/08 - A Gentle Reprisal
One cannot help admiring the manly oomph and general righteousness prompting Ed Brayton the Bold to file Freedom of Information applications in an effort to learn the exciting details of WTO GATS-slash settlements. The settlements, after all, are intended to address the profit hemorrhage so many of us in the industry somehow survive because of stubborn U.S. policies of protectionism and secretive, selective law enforcement. How PokerPulse, too, yearns daily to fill in the yawning gaps at our GATS chart! However - and it pains us to say so - the U.S. did actually apply to take the proceedings public before Antigua's arbitration panel Dec. 21/07. As you can see from the panel's report, (see The call for applause) it was Antigua that nixed the request - probably for a lot of good reasons.
We, too, have pressed governments including our own to give us some sense of what these GATS-slash settlements achieved, if only to provide us with ideas for mitigating our extreme losses, but no dice. Settlements at law and esp at WTO law are necessarily confidential. Parties, including governments, might never settle if the ugly, embarrassing truth prompting them to do so ever became public. That's the theory, anyway.
The good news about the WTO is that unlike legal judgments, panel rulings don't end the dispute. Just because the U.S. has removed gambling from GATS and given up some jealously guarded market protections in other sectors as conditions of settlement doesn't mean America won't someday and maybe soon remove offending prohibitions.
What's even darker than Carrie Nation's bonnet in this case, in our view, is the not unexpected but nevertheless reprehensible position by greedy-guts IP lobbyists claiming Antigua is somehow not entitled to benefit from its two - COUNT 'EM, TWO! - WTO wins AND the arbitrator's ruling giving Antigua the right to suspend
(a) certain TRIPS terms involving IP
(b) for a limited period
(c) under the watchful eye of the panel and interested WTO peers.
While we are not fond of what we call the Four-Flusher Fantasy that led to such a paltry ruling (amounting to about $21 million), Antigua should at least have the right to any advantage it might yield.
Tracking Internet gambling law worldwide
within reason and quite often without.