On and on and on, there seems to be no end in sight for Antigua’s complaint against the US before the World Trade Organization, as yet a new protracted deadline is set to end the talks and settle the dispute.
After the US passed the UIGEA in 2006, Antigua’s economy took a serious hit, since a large percentage of its economy was based on online gaming concerns. With unexpected boldness, Antigua decided to take the US to task, and filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization. What was even more surprising was the fact that the WTO ruled in favor of the tiny island, mandating that the US compensate Antigua in cash and kind for the damage done to its economy. David beat Goliath once more, and justice was done to the small ones, or so the world thought for a few weeks.
But Goliath was not going down so easily. The US appealed, stalled, negotiated and bargained its way into ever new deadlines without coming to an agreement with Antigua. It speaks volumes that a similar compensation agreement with the EU has been reached six months ago, while the last deadline for Antigua (which was end of March 2008) already came and went without any results.
And so the negotiations continue, with Antigua refusing to settle and the US refusing to budge. But there may be light at the end of the tunnel, as Antigua’s Finance Minister Errol Cort announced last Monday that resolution may be attained by this Friday, June 20th. Mr. Cort is hopeful that this extra time will "allow both parties additional time to see whether we're able to meet some amicable resolution" before the WTO has to intervene again and set the terms for the compensation. A spokesman for the office of the US Trade Representative confirmed that the talks are meant in earnest to reach an agreement and settle the dispute out of court.