EU Team Visiting Washington To Investigate ‘Trade Breaches’
In America, investigators from the European Union are visiting Congress and members of the Executive Branch this week looking into allegations that the US Department of Justice is breaching international trade treaties.
The allegations surround the continuing enforcement by Justice officials of laws against European businesses and individuals that at one time participated in the US online gaming industry, regulations that have been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organisation.
The European Union team is headed by Jean-Francois Brakeland from the European Commission’s dispute settlement office. It is seeking answers from American officials before deciding how to best protect the interests of firms from member nations. In the end, it could recommend the implementation of blocking-legislation preventing enforcement of US laws in Europe or open World Trade Organisation proceedings against the US enforcement of its laws versus conflicting international commitments. It could also consider sanctions, which would be sought only if no amicable solution could be found.
'This is a hugely significant piece of the fact-finding mission whose existence reflects a major point of tension between the US and Europe over the integrity of international trade commitments,' said Joseph Weiler, Professor for New York University’s School of Law.
'It is a shame that the European Union has to go this far to seek a solution to such an unnecessary and avoidable dispute that, if not solved, will have wide-reaching consequences for the US and the systems it benefits from and needs to maintain.'
'The European Union industry has had to accept the huge losses caused by the US repudiation of its World Trade Organisation commitments,” said Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive for the Remote Gambling Association.
“What can't be accepted is that companies and individuals, who respected Congress in 2006 and ceased taking US business, should still be under the threat of criminal enforcement action today for conducting trade that they were entitled to do under the terms of the World Trade Organsation agreements.”