US Flip-Flopping in Trade Flap Against Tiny Antigua

by Lou on July 28, 2007

Antigua requested $3.4 billion in commercial sanctions against the United States from the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to Antigua, the US did not comply with a WTO ruling that said US Internet gambling restrictions are illegal under WTO treaty obligations.

While the United States acknowledges that their online betting ban was ruled illegal by the WTO, the government is challenging Antigua’s right to retaliate because they claim to be in the process of changing the details of its obligations under the 1994 General Agreement on Trade in Services.
The Feds also claim Antigua’s request is excessive.
US trade lawyer Juan Millan told the WTO that Antigua’s request was “unnecessary” because the United States was negotiating compensation with all interested WTO members.
That’s a 180 degree turnaround in the United States’ position, since the US first argued that it was exempt from sanctions or having to pay compensation.
The Antiguan government says it will target US trademarks and copyrights if Washington refuses to change its legislation, a move that’s perfectly legal under treaty obligations agreed to by WTO member nations. While Antigua, with it’s tiny population of 70,000 citizens, may be the metaphorical mouse that roared, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Macao, Japan, and the 27 nation European Union have all joined Antigua in filing compensation claims as a result.

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