WTO Deal Postponed
By staff
According to Reuters news agency, the United States has secured a further delay in making decisions regarding compensation to fellow World Trade Organisation (WTO) members impacted by its unilateral withdrawal of treaty obligations concerning online gambling.

Representatives of Antigua, the European Union and five other nations expected negotiations to wrap up this week but the parties have agreed to extend talks until December 14.

“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,” said Gretchen Hamel, Spokesperson for the US Trade Representative.

There has been speculation by many that the claim from the European Union could run into billions of dollars following the commercial damage caused to European companies obliged to leave the US market in the wake of the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) last year.

Antigua has publicised its demand that the US pay $3.4 billion in the form of suspended copyright laws but the US has suggested that a figure of around $500,000 would be more appropriate.

Hamel suggested that Antigua is the only nation vigorously pursuing its claim, implying that EU representatives are not as committed.

Should agreement on compensation not be achieved, the issue will fall before WTO arbitration but Hamel suggested that there was a strong possibility that the other six nations with claims, including the EU, will settle upon what she called ‘a reasonable solution’.

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