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Antigua and US Fail To Reach Agreement On Internet Gambling Dispute

by Leroy Baker, Tax-News.com, New York

26 October 2004


It has emerged that officials from Antigua & Barbuda and the United States have failed to reach a bilateral agreement regarding their internet gambling dispute, and reports suggest that the small Caribbean state will now trigger an action leading to the release of a WTO report on the issue.

Antigua and Barbuda brought the case to the WTO in 2003, arguing that by restricting the internet gambling activities of US citizens, the United States was unfairly damaging the jurisdiction's economy, in contravention of the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS).

After the US lost an arbitration proceeding under the trade dispute resolution process of the WTO in March, both sides attempted to reach a negotiated settlement.

However, following four months of negotiations, Dr Errol Court, Antigua’s finance minister, has revealed that all opportunities for a mutually agreed settlement have been “fully exhausted.”

“We held five face-to-face meetings with various branches of the US government, but ultimately, we concluded that the elements necessary for an amicable resolution would not be forthcoming at this time from the United States,” revealed Dr Court, according to Caribbean Net News.

As a result of the deadlock, the Antigua delegation has taken the decision to release the WTO’s final report, and Dr Court has indicated that the US authorities have been given ten working days' notice of his government’s intent.

A comprehensive report detailing the online gambling regime in a number of key offshore jurisdictions is available in the Tax-News Reports Shop at http://www.tax-news.com/reportshop/

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