ST. JOHN’S: The Government of Antigua & Barbuda has presented a proposal to the United States aimed at ending their dispute over Internet gaming.
A notice posted on the website of the World Trade Organization said that Antigua & Barbuda has reiterated its concern that it had not received a settlement proposal from the United States and it has informed the Dispute Settlement Board that the Gaston Browne administration has recently presented a comprehensive and realistic proposal to the U.S.
“Antigua & Barbuda urged the U.S. to consider the proposal with good faith and to engage comprehensively with Antigua and Barbuda so as to end this dispute,” the statement said, adding that Washington had indicated “it remained committed to resolving this dispute and looked forward to working with Antigua & Barbuda’s new government”.
Antigua & Barbuda has criticized the United States since 1998 for breaching its commitments to members of the WTO under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) by enacting laws that prevented foreign-based operators from offering gambling and betting services to its citizens.
In 2005, the WTO ruled that Washington had violated international trade agreements by prohibiting the operation of offshore Internet gambling sites. Antigua claimed that it lost US$3.4 billion a year due to the U.S. action, but the WTO awarded the island US$21 million.
However, in its final ruling, the Geneva-based WTO has allowed Antigua & Barbuda to suspend certain concessions and obligations it has under international law to the United States in respect of intellectual property rights.
Last November, Antigua & Barbuda said it was disappointed in the latest round of talks with representatives from the Office of the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) in a bid to resolve the issue.