A senior government official on Wednesday said Antigua & Barbuda is still open to finding a resolution to its internet gaming dispute with the United States even though the World Trade Organization (WTO) has again ruled in its favour.
Trade Ambassador Colin Murdoch, speaking on state-owned media, said the Baldwin Spencer government has received no communication from Washington since the WTO ruling last week.
"We won the case at the first level, we won it when it was on appeal and the judgment that was awarded to Antigua and Barbuda allowed Antigua and Barbuda to suspend certain intellectual property rights as between Antigua and Barbuda and the United States," said Murdoch.
"Now we have not taken up the judgment yet, but we have authority and approval from the WTO to proceed. So as of now we can proceed, but we hope to continue our bilateral discussions with the United States to see if at this 11th hour they are willing to reach a reasonable settlement with us,' Murdoch added.
But he said that Washington has so far not made any "enticing offer" to the government.
Last week, the opposition party, ALP, said it was concerned about the stance being taken by the government regarding the dispute.
ALP leader Gaston Browne said the country is on a collision course with the US.
"This collision course is not only with the US government but with several important and wealthy organisations that represent tens of thousands of copyright holders in the United States," he said.
These include the National Music Publishers' Association, and the International Intellectual Property Alliance that represents seven trade associations, including the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Business Software Alliance.
According to Browne, the organisations have indicated that they will retaliate.
Finance Minister Harold Lovell has called on both government and opposition to unite in dealing with the matter.
The government said that at its height, the remote gaming industry was the country's second-largest employer.
In 2007, the WTO awarded Antigua the right to target US services, copyrights and trade-marks in retaliation for its online betting ban.
But the WTO capped the limit of annual trade sanctions at US$21 million.
The Spencer administration had originally sought the right to impose US$3.4 billion in retaliatory measures, while Washington had offered a mere US$500,000.
In 2003, St John's initiated WTO dispute proceedings against US federal and state laws barring foreign participation in US Internet gambling markets.
The WTO, in rulings in 2004 and 2005, found that the US had violated its 1994 General Agreement on Trade in Services, which the WTO said allows Internet gambling.