U.S. refuses action in WTO-Antigua ruling

The United States has refused to comply with a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on the U.S.-Antigua gambling dispute, it was reported yesterday by Tax-News.com. According to reporter Mike Godfrey, a United States trade representative formally advised Antigua's counsel, Mark Mendel, "that there would be no further negotiations." Mendel, who is based in El Paso, Texas, said that he was informed during a telephone conversation last week.

"Yesterday our request to have meaningful negotiations was rejected," Mendel said at the time. "They have come to the mind-boggling conclusion that they are in compliance and have been in compliance all along, and they need not do anything."

In August, 2005, the WTO ruled that the Wire Act, a U.S. law prohibiting the placing of bets across state lines by electronic means and telephone wires, is a violation of WTO policy, and granted the United States until April 3, 2006, to adjust the legislation accordingly.

Antigua challenged the U.S. via the WTO Appellate Body in 2003 for violating commitments made by the United States when the WTO was formed in 1995.

Mendel said Antigua now plans to impose compensatory trade sanctions against the U.S. under WTO rules in retaliation for the United States' refusal to implement the ruling.

Errol Cort, Antigua & Barbuda's minister of finance and the economy, said, "I can find no better words in response to the United States than to paraphrase those of United States Trade Representative Rob Portman, made in relation to China last week: 'As a mature trading partner, the United States should be held accountable for its actions and be required to live up to its responsibilities.'"

Please see U.S. Fails To Meet WTO Deadline for further details.

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