Antigua’s Prime Minister Meets With US Congressmen Over Online Gaming Dispute

by Lou on November 12, 2007

“I think my country is wrong in trying to change the rules of the World trade Organization (WTO),” said New York Democrat Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to local Caribbean reporters, following a meeting with Antiguan Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer.
The meeting was a sidebar to a regional business conference that was attended by a number of congressional representatives. Rangel added, “Your great nation and ours will have to negotiate those differences in terms of equity and fairness.”

Antigua accuses the U.S. of crippling its gaming industry by effectively banning Americans from placing online bets with gambling operators in the Caribbean nation.

The tiny Caribbean nation with a population of approximately 70,000 sees online gaming as a means of easing its dependence on tourism. They filed a complaint with the WTO, won their case, and now seek $3.4 billion in trade sanctions against the U.S.
Spencer said that he’s hopeful that the US congressional delegation attending the conference would come away with a better and greater appreciation of Antigua’s position, and that this weekend’s meetings would help resolve their trade battle with the United States over.
Congressman Rangel, who oversees tax legislation as chair of the Ways and Means Committee, said he worries Washington may have overstepped its authority in the long-running dispute.

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