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Antigua dissatisfied with US position on Internet gaming

Published:Tuesday | April 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Baldwin Spencer, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda. - FILE

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer says the United States (US) has not done enough to settle a long outstanding Internet gaming dispute with Antigua and Barbuda.

The Antiguan PM met with the US Trade Representative Ron Kirk on the issue on the weekend, but expressed disappointment that, although the case was first adjudicated in 2003, Antigua and Barbuda and the US are yet to find a "mutually agreeable solution to settle the case".

Spencer said Antigua and Barbuda had put forward several options to settle the case but that "there has been no fairness in the proposals received from the United States to date.

"Antigua and Barbuda's Internet gaming sector has been decimated by the actions of the United States, and we believe that we must be fairly compensated for those losses," Spencer said.

In an effort to bring a fresh perspective to the case, Spencer said he urged the trade representative to accept Antigua and Barbuda's recent proposal to take advantage of a "good offices" mediation effort by the director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Spencer said Kirk acknowledged that a solution to the case had been elusive but assured him that "the United States remained committed to working with Antigua and Barbuda in finding a solution to the case".

The Antiguan leader said Kirk "expressed the willingness of his office to review the latest proposal from Antigua and Barbuda and to hold further discussions with Antigua and Barbuda's Ambassador in Washington, DC, over the next few days so that a strategy for further action could be discussed."

In 2005, the WTO ruled that the US had violated international trade agreements by prohibiting operation of offshore Internet gambling sites.

Antigua claimed that it lost US$3.4 billion a year due to the US action, but the WTO awarded Antigua US$21 million.