World Trade Organisation dispute over online gambling

Antigua's Finance Minister, Dr. Errol Cort must be racking up the airmiles on the Caribbean government's continuing World Trade Organisation dispute over online gambling with the United States. The peripatetic minister apparently flew to Washington again this week for further talks with the US Trade Representative, reports the Antigua Sun.

The Minister told an Antigua Sun reporter that he would additionally be meeting with senior officials in the US Justice Department in yet another last attempt to find an amicable resolution in the Internet gaming confrontation between the two nations, which so far Antigua has won convincingly in a series of Dispute Panel decisions, causing the Americans to withdraw their gambling obligations from GATT, thus incurring penalties.

The newspaper reports that Dr. Cort is still optimistic, saying: "We've been holding discussions and negotiations over many months; I believe that we've reached a point where we might be able to conclude these negotiations."

When asked what the course of action would be if an agreement was not reached, Dr. Cort opined, "If there is no resolution, then it means that the matter will go over into a new administration under the US presidency of Barack Obama."

According to Cort, the discussions would then have to be restarted. "These discussions would have been held over all of these months under a Republican administration and if we go into a new {Democrat] administration it will be new players…we will virtually need to start from scratch," the Finance Minister said.

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