Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda Discusses WTO Dispute with United States

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Last week, Sir Rodney Williams, the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, announced that legislation would be introduced soon that will allow the country to collect on a judgement provided by the World Trade Organization in a dispute with the United States from years past. The Governor believes that President Trump will help resolve the issue in a manner that will be pleasing to his government.

Before Trump was inaugurated, Williams stated that his government believes that the administration will recognize the lawfulness and justness of their actions and will quickly move to settle the differences that have kept the negotiators apart.

Since the mid-90s, Antigua and Barbuda have been issuing online gambling licenses and by 2003 the country had filed a complaint within the World Trade Organization. The complaint stemmed from the United States preventing residents of their country from playing online poker and taking part in other online gambling activity. The United States claimed that such prohibitions were needed to help protect the public health but the WTO did not agree.

The WTO ruled in favor of Antigua and Barbuda, giving the government the right to implement a plan that would not enforce United States copyright and patent protections, which would provide $21 million in profits for the country a year. The government had yet to implement the plan but appears to be ready to do so.

In a speech, Williams discussed the intention of the government stating that they are ready to apply the remedies permitted by the WTO. Williams stated: “It is my Government’s intention to proceed to Parliament to adopt legislation consistent with the WTO ruling, allowing Antigua and Barbuda to nullify US copyright protections and to benefit from so doing.”

Nothing has happened as of yet.

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