July 17, 2007
Following a statement by the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) trade ministers on Antiqua and Barbuda’s ongoing dispute with the United States on Internet Gaming. This statement is among the conclusions of the OECS ministers of trade meeting in St. Lucia last Wednesday.
We the OECS ministers of trade declare solidarity with Antiqua and Barbuda’s quest for satisfactory treatment from the United States of America on the question of cross border supply of Internet Gaming Services.
We recognize the challenges faced by Antiqua and Barbuda as the United States fails to implement the World Trade Oganization’s General Agreement on Trade Services (GATS) rulings.
We the OECS ministers of trade are dissatisfied with the decision by the USA to circumvent its WTO GATS obligations by attempting to withdraw its commitments tabled in 1994 on Internet gaming.
We further recognise that although Antigua & Barbuda has consistently won cases against the USA at the WTO disputes panel and appellate body, the USA is yet to bring its offending measures into conformity as directed in the consecutive rulings. We the OECS ministers of trade recognise findings by the WTO’s compliance panel that the USA is yet to implement the decision of the compliance panel.
The OECS ministers of trade view the ongoing response by the USA as unfortunate and that such action can significantly harm Antigua & Barbuda’s economy. In fact this has so far resulted in the closure of some Internet gaming facilities and the termination of some workers in that industry in Antigua & Barbuda. Such action by the USA has also undermined the credibility of the WTO.
To this end, the OECS ministers of trade declare their solidarity with Antigua & Barbuda in taking measures calculated to obtain compensation for the actions taken against it. The OECS ministers of trade will fervently express such concerns about Antigua & Barbuda’s plight during individual and collective dialogue with the USA.
We (OECS) strongly suggest that the United States of America engage in the appropriate dialogue with Antigua & Barbuda and take the steps to comply with the WTO ruling.