Antigua Demands $3.4 Billion Trade Sanctions Against US In Internet Gambling Dispute - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Antigua Demands $3.4 Billion Trade Sanctions Against US In Internet Gambling Dispute

Updated:
GENEVA (AP) _ The United States should face commercial sanctions worth more than $3.4 billion each year for its failure to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling that its Internet gambling restrictions are illegal, the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda said Wednesday.

Japan and India, meanwhile, added extra pressure on the United States by filing WTO compensation requests as a result of Washington's attempt to change the details of its obligations under the 1994 General Agreement on Trade in Services.

The two countries and the European Union, which filed a similar request on Tuesday, complain that the unprecedented legal move by the U.S. of deleting part of an agreed treaty has to be accompanied by a commitment to open up other trade sectors.

The U.S., which said it was still trying to resolve the dispute with Antigua, explicitly removed online betting from the services agreement after losing a WTO ruling last year.

Antigua on Wednesday said it is asking the trade body for authorization to target American trademarks and copyrights if the U.S. refuses to change its legislation.

WTO officials said they had received Antigua's request but were unable to provide details on its contents.

Antigua said the sanctions would come into effect ``shortly,'' unless the United States requests a WTO arbitration panel on the level and scope of the sanctions.

``While we realize this is a significant step for Antigua and Barbuda to take, we feel we have no other choice in the matter,'' Antigua's Finance Minister L. Errol Cort said in a statement.

``Until such time as the United States is willing to work with us on achieving a reasonable solution to this trade dispute, we will continue to use every legitimate remedy available to protect the interests of our citizens,'' he said.

Gretchen Hamel, spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, said, ``We will continue to work with Antigua and Barbuda to try to find a mutually satisfactory resolution to this dispute.''

Antigua argues that before the ban was introduced, online gambling provided income for hundreds of its citizens and helped end its reliance on tourism, which was hurt by a series of hurricanes in the late 1990s.

Last year Washington stopped U.S. banks and credit card companies from processing payments to online gambling businesses outside the country.

The decision closed off the most lucrative region in a market worth $15.5 billion last year. About half of the world's online gamblers are based in the United States.

The WTO in December ruled that the law unfairly targeted offshore casinos, telling the U.S. it could keep restrictions against sport betting in place if they were also applied to American businesses, such as operators of remote horse betting.
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