Chances for a peaceful settlement

The US Trade Representative labels it as an authorised privacy

The decision by governments of Antigua and Barbuda to use the ruling of the WTO dispute panel that it can fight back on the breach by the Americans in 2007 of the General Agreement on Trade in Service in regard to Internet gambling has prompted protests by the U.S. that this represents nothing more than an act of piracy authorized by the government.

Conciliatory offers had also been made by the U.S. to Antigua as well as to other countries, but the islanders have rejected them, is claimed in the statement, and it further suggests that for retaliation by Antigua and Barbuda no justification exists.

In the last paragraph of the statement by the U.S. some not very subtle threats appear that suggest that if Antigua and Barbuda makes a retaliatory move it can only serve to the detriment of its own interests and an authorized by the Government piracy would diminish the chances for a peaceful settlement that could otherwise be of great benefit to Antigua and Barbuda.

“To foreign investment it would also serve as a significant impediment and slow down the Antiguan economy even further, in particular the high-technology industries,” reads the statement.

Over many years the two countries have argued over the issue concerning the ban by the US on internet gambling. It impacted in a disastrous way the economy of Antigua as well as its licensing and regulatory system.

After extensive negotiations which have ended in stalling and a number of clashes at the WTO, it was discovered by the dispute panels that under GATS the US had beached the commitments it has, and that Antiguans have the right to retaliate to the $21 million value which is still quite lower than the wanted by the Antiguans amount of $3.4 billion, but nonetheless it was some gain.

After a number of attempts were made for reaching a solution to the problem with the US and they proved to be fruitless, the decision of the Antiguans was to continue with their course, which triggered the protests and claims of piracy from the Trade Representative of the US.

Through the judgement of the WTO, Antigua is given the right to offer for sale and produce products subjected to US copyrights without the need to pay to the holders of those copyrights. In the hands of Antiguans lies the choice of which US products should be subjected to an attack. They have been very patient for a long period of time at holding the fire on the WTO ruling’s implementation as they have sought a more peaceful resolution with the US officials.

On the January 2013 agenda of the small Caribbean nation this issue has been voiced. Under the judgement of the WTO, trade representatives should present their proposals of which copyrights they elect to attack.