Gretchen Hamel, spokesman for the US Trade Representative’s Office, has finally spoken, after Monday’s deadline when settlements were supposed to have been reached between the US and seven different members of the WTO. However, the Internet gambling community will have to stick to the edge of their seats a little longer because Hamel only spoke to announce that the deadline for settlements has been postponed until December 14th of this year.
“Each negotiation is proceeding at its own pace, and some are quite advanced. However, we have agreed to extend the negotiation period for all claimants,” Hamel told Reuters.
“In order to provide all parties with sufficient time to reach a successful resolution, the United States and the claimants have jointly agreed that these negotiations should be extended until December 14,” Hamel continued.
The United States is under heavy pressure from the tiny twin island nations of Antigua & Barbuda, who won their case, and all their appeals, that they brought against the US claiming they were breaking WTO trade violations with their new anti-online gambling laws.
The US then pulled a move unheard of in the WTO, they went in and retroactively changed the GATS, which is basically like signing a contract, then going back to the contract and changing it after all parties have signed.
This action by the US allowed all WTO members the ability to demand compensation from the States. Antigua has since demanded that the US pay up $3.4 billion in the form of suspended copyright laws. Rumors are that the EU has asked for $100 billion per year, but Hamel laughed at that comment.
Hamel also told Reuters that Antigua seems to be the only country that is going after this case full hearted-ly, meaning that they will not settle, they will let the arbitrators settle it.
Antigua believes that because they have beaten the US in several different stages at the WTO, that the WTO will see Antigua’s demands of compensation as justified.
Hamel believes all other nations will settle upon a reasonable solution