Joined: 18 Aug 2004
|Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:38 am Post subject:
|'Want fries with that? May we SUPER-SIZE your order?'
U.S. Treasury an open trove to 150 WTO Members if U.S. breaks GATS:
Super Size Me
Antigua ups the heat on US in gambling dispute
By Patricia Campbell
|Antigua & Barbuda has called on the 150 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to file claims for compensation against the United States – the latest move in its trade dispute with the US over Internet gambling.
Yesterday in Geneva, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body’s ruling on the matter was formally adopted by the WTO. That ruling declared the US in continued violation of its commitments under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in relation to the restrictions placed on remote gambling.
Since the ruling was issued in March, however, the US has declared its intention to change its GATS commitments so that it is no longer pledged to allow access to Internet gambling companies, a move that it says will effectively put an end to the dispute with Antigua & Barbuda.
In response to this, Antigua & Barbuda’s attorney at the WTO Mark Mendel said that Antigua & Barbuda is actively encouraging WTO members to claim compensation from the US if it attempts to break the treaty. Mendel explained that this option is open to members of the organisation, who can file a claim for “future damages” based on the failure of the US to honour its GATS commitment, even if they have no current stake in the Internet gambling industry.
“We have our decision. We have the WTO ruling in our favour and they can’t unilaterally change that,” he said, explaining Antigua & Barbuda’s position on the US tactic. To attempt to do so, he added, could be extremely expensive for the US government.
“Any WTO member can file a claim for compensation against them and although we are very small and we as a country may not have that much of an impact on the American economy, if as many countries as we think might file claims do, then that can have an extraordinary impact,” he said.
He said that the hope is that the US will rescind its decision to back off from its treaty commitment and return to responsible negotiations.
Mendel pointed out that the implications of the US manoeuvre expand beyond the Internet gambling issue.
“We met with the Chinese delegation and they have a very considerable interest in the use of this tactic and whether the US is going to comply with their obligations to China under the same scenario. If you can just unilaterally withdraw your commitments, then it changes the whole landscape and it’s something that I don’t think anybody really expected or anticipated,” Mendel said.
|Did you lose money or access to services over U.S. protectionism in the gambling sector? If so, TELL YOU LOCAL TRADE OFFICIALS IT'S PAYDAY!
Even if you didn't lose money or access to services but you believe even tiny countries like Antigua are entitled to profit from providing clean, GREEN, sustainable, regulated services to the American gambling market, TELL YOUR LOCAL TRADE OFFICIALS to STAKE A CLAIM AGAINST A U.S. GATS BREACH.
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