For 13 years, Antigua and Barbuda has been fighting the US on online poker issues.
To prevent American citizens from accessing online poker sites that operate out of the twin island country, the US government has been making attempts that date far back. The countries claim that such attempts have had huge effects on their economies and they suffered with the economic hit.
“The economy of Antigua and Barbuda has been devastated by the United States government’s long campaign to prevent American consumers from gambling online with offshore gaming operator,” said Harold Lovell, Antigua’s Finance Minister, back in 2013.
For three years the island-nation has sold items off of websites, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) approval, however American’s federal government say it infringe on copyrights.
“The United States will not tolerate theft of intellectual property and will take whatever steps are most efficient and effective to prevent this from happening.”
The twisting tale is complex, but essentially, back in 2003 the WTO sided with Antigua and Barbuda on this matter. This should have been the end of it, however, it was not.
In 2007, the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body made it possible for the twin island country to potentially recoup economic losses due to US positioning sanctions.
Initially, the US government offered a settlement, but the government of Antigua and Barbuda did not accept the offer.
“We will never accept any one-sided agreement in which they treat us with contempt, and in which they fail to settle the issue in meaningful manner. We’re hoping that as a result of that proposal we’ll be able to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement,” said Browne earlier this month.
Possibly, Antigua and Barbuda’s government will make a counter-offer this week.
Visit to NY
In September, the prime-minister will visit the United Nations in New York and this is what he said about the visit:
“As far as I’m concerned, that is the single issue which I will want to raise at the UN if they continue to treat us with this kind of contempt… perhaps they’re going to consider Antigua & Barbuda as a nuisance”, added Browne.
Antigua and Barbuda believes the WTO should be the ultimate arbiter. However it is not clear what the country can do if the US fails to comply.