PR: Costa Rica Files for Arbitration in WTO Gambling Dispute

Casinomeister

Forum Cheermeister
Staff member
Costa Rica Files for Arbitration in WTO Gambling Dispute

Action Could Upend U.S. E.U. Agreement
Billions in Issue


(Washington, D.C. January 31, 2008) The international Internet gambling dispute, potentially valued at billions of dollars, continues. Costa Rica and Antigua separately filed for World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitration on January 28, seeking compensation from the United States as a result of the U.S. withdrawal of its commitment on cross-border gambling services. The new arbitration requests could potentially derail the settlement for compensation agreed to late last year by the U.S. and the E.U.

The arbitration filing makes it possible for the E.U. to reconsider its settlement with the U.S. and join the arbitration proceeding, opening up a new phase in the Internet gambling trade dispute.

The decision by Antigua and Costa Rica to take the United States to arbitration will test the limits of the WTO process and squarely challenge the U.S. resolve to withdraw its GATS commitments, said Nao Matsukata, formerly Director of Policy Planning for USTR Robert Zoellick and now a Senior Advisor for Alston and Bird LLP. If the U.S. finds the decision of the WTO arbitrator unacceptable, under procedures outlined in the GATS, it could unilaterally withdraw, creating an unprecedented crisis of confidence in the global trading system. The best solution remains for Congress to pass legislation that would create a legal and regulated framework for online gaming in the United States and for the United States to remain in the GATs schedule to provide all providers legal protection under the WTO.

U.S. withdrawal from GATS following this new arbitration carries the risk of expensive new sanctions levied against U.S. exports and intellectual property. If the U.S. withdraws following another adverse arbitral decision, the country would face potential retaliation from all WTO Members affected by the arbitration, a pool of countries including the EU, Canada, and Japan, added Matsukata. Inviting sanctions at a time when both the U.S. Administration and Congress are both striving to stimulate an economy on the edge of recession seems foolhardy at best, especially when draft domestic legislation already exists that would create a renewed flow of both business and tax revenues throughout the nation's gaming sectors.

Lode Van Den Hende, a W.T.O. expert and trade attorney with Herbert Smith in Brussels said, There is a real possibility that the arbitration body will find that unless the U.S. provides commercially meaningful compensation to Costa Rica and Antigua, it cannot withdraw its commitment on gambling, without risking trade sanctions from the affected parties.

Costa Ricas action raises questions about what India and Macao might do as the other nations that have yet to come to terms with the U.S. over the withdrawal of the Article XXI commitment related to cross-border gambling services.

Under the WTOs GATS Article XXI rules, any country withdrawing its market access must provide compensation to affected countries that maintains a general level of mutually advantageous commitments not less favorable to trade than that provided for in schedules of specific commitments prior to the negotiations. The U.S. negotiated settlements with four of the eight nations seeking compensation - the E.U., Japan, Canada, and Australia, providing compensation, in the form of markets access to U.S. domestic postal services, warehousing, R & D, and technical testing sectors.

Costa Rica, Macao, India and Antigua did not reach an agreement with the U.S. over the withdrawal of its gambling commitment, as the above market sectors offered by the U.S. were of no commercial interest to those countries.

After the WTO ruled that the U.S. had violated trade rules in barring Antiguan online gaming operators from the U.S. market, the U.S. withdrew its WTO obligations with regard to free trade in the gambling area. The U.S. decision to withdraw its market commitments, in order to comply with the WTO, is the first instance of such an action by a WTO member. The action by the U.S. sets a precedent that other WTO members could copy in order to back out of their own commitments once they consider them inconvenient. In turn, the Costa Rican and Antiguan arbitration requests are the first ever in response to a withdrawal of commitments.

It is possible that these arbitration requests will impact the way in which Antigua decides to implement the $21 million per year in trade sanctions it received as compensation for U.S. noncompliance with WTO rulings in the gambling dispute. An option available is for the country to take the compensation in the form of intellectual property waivers.

It is time for the U.S. to end its hypocritical practices that discriminate against foreign online gambling operators, while allowing U.S. gambling operators to accept bets for certain forms of gambling, said Jeffrey Sandman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. Regulation of Internet gambling should be supported as a means to resolve this trade dispute.

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.


Media Contacts

Lode Van Den Hende, Herbert Smith:
+ 322 5117450
lode.vandenhende@herbertsmith.com

Naotaka Matsukata, Alston & Bird
(202) 756-5591
nao.matsukata@alston.com

Jeffrey Sandman, Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative
(202) 872-0010 or (202) 872-4860
info@safeandsecureig.org

###

Michael Waxman
(202) 872-4860 ext. 238
info@safeandsecureig.org
1718 M Street NW #376
Washington, D.C. 20036
 

jetset

RIP Brian
CAG
A matter of "national security????"

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Interesting story about a freeland journo who requested details of the US-EU deal in the WTO affair and was turned down....on grounds of national security!

The sooner the US voters take back their rights and priveleges to more open government, the better!
 

RobWin

closed account
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Interesting story about a freeland journo who requested details of the US-EU deal in the WTO affair and was turned down....on grounds of national security!

The sooner the US voters take back their rights and priveleges to more open government, the better!
This is exactly the same S**t I have been posting about in the Forum "America the Beautiful"...Bush and his henchmen writing directives and doing all this damn scheming and S**t behind our backs...but I think it was called hogwash over there...what a nation of blind sheep we have become...what the hell happened to our backbone and the people standing up and taking back our corrupt government ?
 

lots0

Banned User - troll posts - flaming
"When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in flag and carrying a cross."
Sinclair Lewis



Whats all this talk about Edgar Casey or Nostradamus... Seventy years ago, Sinclair Lewis saw the coming of George Walker Bush to America....
 

RobWin

closed account
"When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in flag and carrying a cross."
Sinclair Lewis



Whats all this talk about Edgar Casey or Nostradamus... Seventy years ago, Sinclair Lewis saw the coming of George Walker Bush to America....
Sinclair Lewis was a smart man...Fascism is almost here in America now and like he said, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross and most of the American citizens will have to be bitten in the ass twice and slapped in the face before they even realize it...and the sad thing is, it will be too late then.

But most people’s problem is the fact that they cannot and are not willing to accept the fact that our government could actually be this corrupt and responsible for so many cloaked atrocities...

After winning the Nobel Prize, Lewis would publish nine more novels in his lifetime, the best remembered being It Can't Happen Here, a novel about the election of a fascist U.S. President.
 
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Mousey

Ueber Meister Mouse
edit: nevermind... it's already been posted....
 

lots0

Banned User - troll posts - flaming
But most peoples problem is the fact that they cannot and are not willing to accept the fact that our government could actually be this corrupt and responsible for so many cloaked atrocities...
Yes, it is like some kind of deranged team mentality. No matter what "your" team does it is OK... It is those other teams that are doing all the bad stuff.

Ever been to a kids game of baseball or football? Watch the parents... Some of them act like their kid NEVER does anything wrong... When their kid breaks the rules it is because some kid on the other team made him do it or the ref is blind... This is the same kid of sick mentality that many people have about our government.
 
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