Antigua Prods US to Comply With International Trade Rules

by Lou on June 14, 2006

The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda recently asked for consultations with United States over its restrictions on Internet gambling, a step toward establishing a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel to investigate whether U.S. law complies with international trade rules.

This trade dispute has been discussed on numerous occasions in this blog, and this is simply a follow-up step to prod the United States toward a position of compliance with a WTO ruling. The dispute centers on whether the United States should drop prohibitions on Americans placing bets in online casinos. The World Trade Organization ruling said that some U.S. laws were in line with international commerce rules, but others were not.

Antigua’s position is that that the United States has taken no measures to comply with WTO recommendations and rulings. The U.S. takes the position that its laws are in line with trade rules.

Antigua claims that online gaming is a lucrative source of revenue and provides an income for hundreds of islanders. They claim that US prohibitions harm the island nation’s efforts to diversify its economy away from tourism.

Antigua filed its case before the WTO in 2003, and the beat goes on in 2006, with the tiny nation — Antigua and Barbuda has a population of approximately 70,000 — trying to tussle with the economic muscle of the United States.

Thus far the results have been mixed, but Antigua continues to push their case to a conclusion that satisfies them, as well as online poker players and gamblers in the United States.

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