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WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION PANEL MEETS NEXT WEEK ON U.S. INTERNET GAMBLING ISSUE

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1 September 2006

Geneva panel to decide whether the U.S. is compliant with earlier WTO rulings

Next Monday could be crunch day for the United States in its long-running World Trade Organisation dispute with Antigua and Barbuda over internet gambling bans (see previous InfoPowa bulletins)

A WTO three member panel will meet in Geneva next week to determine if U.S. legislation is compliant with an earlier WTO decision in an online gaming dispute with Antigua and Barbuda. The panel meeting begins the next stage of Antigua & Barbuda's protracted Internet gaming dispute with the United States.

This summer, the U.S. government triggered the WTO's Article 21 (5) provisions which allowed Antigua & Barbuda to request that a panel be established to examine the current status of America's legislation and review what steps, if any, have been taken by the USA to comply with the earlier WTO decision.

The Antiguan Minister of Finance and the Economy Dr. Errol Cort says that the three member panel has been selected and is expected to hold its first meeting next Monday in Geneva. Dr. Cort said that the meeting will be a very important organisational one in which the parameters of the panel's task will be established and its work programme will be set out.

The panel is mandated to review the matter and to give its decision within 90 days.

In light of this development, Dr. Cort expressed his satisfaction that Antigua & Barbuda is progressing smoothly at the WTO in its efforts to establish that the US has not complied, in any material particular, with the earlier WTO decision in the Internet gaming dispute.

Dr. Cort said that the government remains open to discourse with the US to bring the increasingly contentious issue to an amicable resolution. He expressed the hope that the US might be willing to come to some compromise which would protect the future of the Internet gambling industry and, by extension, the jobs of many young people in Antigua & Barbuda.

Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa

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