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Antigua and Barbuda have recently informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) that this year marks the 20th anniversary of its request for consultations with the United States regarding measures applied by various authorities in the US that affected the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services.
The nation also highlighted that it has been two decades since the Appellate Body circulated its ruling on the matter following the US appeal against the panel report.
The country had developed an internet gambling industry to replace declining tourism revenues, but it found itself shut out of the world’s largest gambling market.
In 2003, Antigua and Barbuda took the matter to the WTO and eventually won the right to compensation of US$21 million annually after the organization’s judges upheld its complaint that US laws were discriminatory.
However, the US government has not paid out the compensation, and Antigua and Barbuda has estimated that it has lost millions of dollars in the process.
Antigua and Barbuda presented its latest argument to the WTO this week, stating that it is disappointed with the lack of progress regarding compliance and that further delay is not an option.
The dispute between the two countries is considered a test case for WTO members who want to determine whether the dispute settlement system can provide practical and timely benefits for small and vulnerable economies.
The country called on the US to make every effort to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion and expressed its willingness to engage with the US in any format to settle the dispute amicably, as per the WTO’s report.
The US expressed its disappointment that Antigua and Barbuda continues to depict it as having made no effort to resolve the dispute, adding that it has repeatedly tried to resolve the issue in a way that would benefit the Antiguan and Barbudan economy and its citizens.
The US stated that it is prepared to work with Antigua and Barbuda to resolve the dispute but that such efforts must be genuine and aimed at finding a solution.
In its statement on behalf of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Group, St Vincent and the Grenadines expressed its disappointment that the dispute has yet to be fully resolved, and that this lack of resolution, particularly the non-compliance of the world’s largest economy in a matter involving one of the smallest WTO members, undermines the rules-based system of adjudication. Bangladesh, South Africa, India, Nigeria (for the African Group), and China also took the floor on this matter, urging a settlement to the dispute