CARICOM Nations Back Antigua In WTO Online Gambling Dispute

Published Monday, March 04, 2013 -

The ongoing dispute between the tiny Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda and the giant USA has many officials and journalists wondering if this unfair situation will ever be resolved. Other countries located in the Caribbean have come to the defence of Antigua and Barbuda at a recent meeting of the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body asking for a fair settlement for Antigua which was granted by the body back in 2004.

America in its zeal to prohibit online gambling shredded the little country’s online gambling industry, thus violating WTO agreements with Antigua. Dominica voiced its concern that nothing was being done to compensate Antigua for the actions of the USA. Trinidad and Tobago who were speaking on behalf of the CARICOM nations of Haiti, Jamaica and Barbados, supported the statement made by Dominica on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda.

The USA has called the WTO compensation package "theft of intellectual property" and "government-authorized piracy" even though the WTO has sanctioned the use of these tactics as trade remedies provided for in WTO agreements. The USA has warned that if Antigua and Barbuda proceed with their plan to not pay for intellectual rights, the whole territory will be subject to a decline in foreign direct investment and in particular from innovative companies. In other words the USA will make sure the Caribbean nations will all be punished for Antigua’s retaliatory actions even if the nation is within its rights to do so. Antigua and Barbuda has stated however it will not encourage or allow itself to become a safe haven for Intellectual Property piracy.

In defence of the US actions officials from the States said that it had offered substantial compensatory adjustments in other service areas. America also contends that it had sought to offer Antigua and Barbuda other elements and that it “remained open and ready to engage with Antigua and Barbuda to find a solution."

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