Antigua, the US and the WTO ... results??

Mousey

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From the news:

23 May 2008

Key meeting on WTO confrontation this week between top officials


After years of litigation and manoeuvering, an end may be sight this week for the World Trade Organisation dispute over online gambling between the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and the United States. Officials from the two sides are gathering in Washington Friday (23 May 2008) to seek a final resolution.

Sooooo.... what happened??
 

jetset

RIP Brian
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The meeting/s went well according to the media reports, with the Antiguan team leader Dr. Cort expressing hope that at last a resolution may be in sight. But he did not give any detail as the deal is not yet done.

Edited to add that Dr. Cort felt that if there was a real possibility of an amicable resolution he would be prepared to agree to an extension of the arbitration proceedings at the WTO beyond the present June 6 deadline.
 

silcnlayc

Just one more spin pleez!
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Hope this hasn't been posted yet...

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European Commission Accelerates Investigation of U.S. Trade Violation on Internet Gambling
Posted : Fri, 30 May 2008 14:30:34 GMT
Author : Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative
Category : Press Release
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WASHINGTON, May 30 US-WTO-net-gambling

U.S. vulnerable in ongoing global trade dispute

WASHINGTON, May 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of an ongoing major trade dispute over Internet gambling that has the United States in an increasingly difficult position to justify, the European Commission has now launched a formal investigation over U.S. actions. The Commission submitted a list of questions to leading U.S. officials related to a possible U.S. trade violation for discriminatory trade practices against European online gambling companies according to Inside Trade.

"The cumulative effect of U.S. WTO (World Trade Organization) related actions over the past year have forced the European Union to take this dramatic step. The line of inquiry opened by the questionnaire could reveal that the U.S. is engaging in unfair, discriminatory, and selective prosecution of European online gaming operators," said Naotaka Matsukata, formerly director of policy planning for USTR Robert Zoellick and now a senior advisor to Alston & Bird, LLP.

"If the E.U. takes the nuclear option and brings the U.S. to the WTO, serious damage would be inflicted on the bilateral relationship at a delicate time in transatlantic relations," added Matsukata. "Rather than taking this risk, the USTR (U.S. Trade Representative) should work with Congress, as the United States Constitution instructs, to resolve the dispute by adopting Congressman Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act to bring the U.S. into WTO compliance."

Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) bill, H.R. 2046, would resolve the trade dispute by regulating Internet gambling and creating a level playing field among domestic and foreign Internet gambling operators.

The European Union's Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson expressed interest in settling the trade violation, but argued that "discrimination against E.U. companies cannot be part of the policy mix." Previously, Mandelson stated that the U.S. Congress should consider opening its market to overseas operators as a solution to the WTO trade dispute over Internet gambling. "I think (Rep. Frank) takes a fair-minded, common sense approach."

"The European Commission investigation further highlights the reckless manner in which the USTR has sought a protectionist trade policy, setting a precedent that threatens to expand beyond online gambling into other areas of trade," said Jeffrey Sandman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. "Congress should not sit on the sidelines as the USTR unilaterally grants trade concessions and hypocritically discriminates against foreign online gambling operators. Congress needs to become part of the decision making process and create a non-discriminatory market for Internet gambling in the U.S. as a way to restore integrity to the international trading system."

The European Commission investigation follows a recent WTO decision in a case brought by the Caribbean nation of Antigua against the U.S. The ruling affirmed that the U.S. engages in illegal trade discriminatory practices against foreign online gambling operators. Antigua continues to seek a settlement from the U.S. for the trade violation.

Separately, Public Citizen, a non-profit public interest organization recently filed a lawsuit to force the USTR to make public trade concessions given to the European Union, Japan, Canada other foreign trading partners for the WTO Internet gambling trade violation. The USTR has also come under pressure from Congress to reveal details of the settlements. In March, Reps. Frank and Ron Paul (R-Texas) wrote to USTR Ambassador Schwab requesting details of the trade concessions. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) also encouraged his colleagues in Congress to join him in calling for the USTR to disclose details of the agreements.

The investigation by the European Commission is the result of a Trade Barrier Regulation complaint filed by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), which represents the largest remote gambling companies in Europe. The RGA claims the United States violates international trade law by threatening and pursuing criminal prosecutions, forfeitures and other enforcement actions against foreign Internet gambling operators, while allowing domestic U.S. online gambling operators, primarily horse betting, to flourish.

After the investigation, the European Commission could pursue discussions with the U.S. to find an appropriate solution to end the discrimination. If the parties cannot settle the matter themselves, the Commission could bring a case against the U.S. to the WTO.

About Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative

The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative promotes the freedom of individuals to gamble online with the proper safeguards to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. For more information on the Initiative, please visit www.safeandsecureig.org. The Web site provides a means by which individuals can register support for regulated Internet gambling with their elected representatives.


SOURCE Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative
 

Mousey

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The Associated Press
7:48 AM EDT, June 24, 2008

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua - This Caribbean nation's top finance official says another deadline has been set with Washington to resolve a feud over Internet gambling after recent talks have fizzled.

Antigua accuses the U.S. of crippling its gambling industry by banning Americans from placing online bets with ....
 

silcnlayc

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US Ignores EU Demands to Cease WTO-violating Enforcement

"These events show that the outgoing US administration and the Department of Justice have demonstrated a total disrespect for the legal rights of European online gaming companies and those associated with them and a complete disregard for US international commitments under GATS," said Chief Executive of the RGA, Clive Hawkswood.



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jetset

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Helluva situation to hand on to the Obama Administration, but they will perhaps do a better - less arrogant - job of sorting this out than the USTR has done to date - you get the feeling that the USTR is just blowing off these legitimate complaints, and for that matter the WTO.

The RGA statement is strongly worded and perhaps reflects the exasperation of its major European gambling company members with the attitude of the USTR and the sluggish manner in which this is moving forward.

Peter Mandelson is no longer the EU Commissioner pursuing this complaint, and the change in command has possibly dislocated the initiative somewhat.

It's unlikely that anything fresh will happen until the new year, now imo.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
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Related comment

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), chairman of the Europe subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, responded to Dikshit's guilty plea by urging the legalization of online gambling:

"It is of critical importance that we find an effective and immediate way to regulate and tax internet gaming in order to avoid a serious trade dispute with the E.U., which, in turn, could have global trade repercussions for the United States. The retroactive and discriminatory enforcement against E.U. parties, who ceased operating in the U.S. a long time ago, has directly led to an escalating trade dispute with the E.U."
 
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