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Ruling in Antigua Trade Case Delayed by WTO

According to reports from the Reuters news agency, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been delayed in ruling on the trade case brought by Antigua against the United States for substantial damages following years of litigation.

In 2005, the WTO ruled that a US law allowing only domestic companies to provide online horseracing gambling services discriminated against foreign companies, which prompted Antigua to petition for $3.4 billion in damages. However, the United States countered with claims that Antigua was entitled to only $500,000 in compensation.

Antigua had built an online gambling industry to replace declining tourist revenues before 2005’s legislation and claims damages to its economy by the online gambling ban call for significant compensation.

'We understand the report has been delayed,' said Gretchen Hamel, Spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative's office.

This delay could impact claims made by other nations, including the European Union (EU) for which there was a similar deadline of December 14 set. In a parallel issue, negotiations between the EU and the United States regarding a compensation agreement seem to be in limbo. If these talks do not lead to a consensus, the EU could, like Antigua, request that a WTO arbitration panel decide the matter.

The private attorney representing Antigua in this matter, Mark Mendel, stated that he was told that the WTO was putting the final touches to the report, which also needs to be translated.