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Caribbean L 8 ife, October 4 - 10, 2019 BQ
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Alphonso Browne addresses
the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters
Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. Associated Press / Kevin Hagen
Antigua seeks settlement
in online gaming dispute
By Nelson A. King
Stating that 12 years is too long for the
United States to abide by a World Trade
Organization (WTO) ruling favoring Antigua
and Barbuda on online gaming, Antigua
and Barbuda Prime Minster Gaston
Browne has reiterated his call on Washington
to “respect the decision of the
WTO and settle its obligations soonest.”
“Our small island states could be forgiven
for their belief that the cards are
being deliberately stacked against them,”
said Browne Friday evening in his address
to the 74th Session of the United Nations
General Assembly Debate. “No evidence is
available to contend otherwise.
“In this connection, my government is
obliged, once again, to draw to the attention
of this Assembly, that 15 years ago,
my country won an arbitration against
the United States in a trade dispute at
the World Trade Organization,” he added.
“The matter was appealed twice and twice
the Arbitral award was given in Antigua
and Barbuda’s favor. The final award was
made 12 years ago.”
The prime minister said the WTO gave
Antigua and Barbuda the right to sell US
copyright material on an annual basis to
recover the full costs of its trade losses.
But Browne said Antigua and Barbuda
decided not to do so but to negotiate with
the US government, since the US would
deprive US copyright holders of “deserved
income from their intellectual property
through no fault of theirs.”
“But advantage has been taken of our
forbearance and our magnanimity,” he
said, adding that, despite the WTO, “my
small country has not been able to bring
the representatives of the United States to
the table to settle this arbitration award.
“The arbitral award due to us has been
ignored while the perennial trade surplus
that the United States enjoys with my
little country has exceeded $3.53 billion
dollars in the 12 years since 2007,” he
continued. “This, too, is unfair, unjust
“How many times must we come here
and ask the United States to settle?” he
asked rhetorically. “We want justice.
“Once again, we urge the United States
to respect the decision of the WTO and
settle its obligations soonest. Twelve years
is too long.”
The prime minister said Antigua and
Barbuda cannot forego legally awarded
recompense for the trade losses it has suffered
by US action.
“We are not afraid of your might,” he
declared. “We are standing on principle.
Let me make it clear, we, too, have a duty
of care to our people. Just as much as you
are protecting your interest, we must also
protect our national interest.
“The last time I checked, we live in a
democratic world,” Browne added. “So
those who want to take punitive action
against us for talking up for our rights
can do so. We will stand in any forum
and defend the interest of Antigua and
The Antiguan leader said his government
is also “deeply concerned” about
the trade contention between the United
States and the Peoples Republic of China,
stating that trade wars “invariably pushup
the cost of living for peoples across
the world, especially the poor and vulnerable.”
He said they ultimately cause the entire
global economy to suffer.
“We are already in that spiral,” he said.
“Confrontation instead of dialogue and
cooperation is exacerbating risks, eroding
confidence and weakening the prospect of
global economic growth.
“There will be no winners if this continues;
only losers,” he added.
Unfortunately, among the hardest hit
will be small island developing states with
their open and vulnerable economies,
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