China, EU, Japan Join WTO Fight

23 October 2006

Gaming Industry News reported this morning that several nations will go to bat for the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda in its Internet gaming dispute with the United States.

Last week, an Antiguan delegation to the World Trade Organization (WTO) met in Geneva with representatives from Japan, China and the European Union (EU), which are now third parties to its Internet gaming case against the United States.

Antigua's delegation was headed by Ambassador Dr. John W. Ashe and included Mark Mendel, legal advisor, as well as Elliot Paige, minister counselor, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) technical mission to the WTO.

Having reserved their third-party rights, representatives are allowed to make a written submission to a WTO compliance panel. The written submission is a vehicle whereby each country or organization weighs in on the case. Japanese, Chinese and European representatives are also guaranteed separate meetings, in person, with the compliance panel.

"I've already read the submissions of the EU and of Japan, and they weigh in on the important legal issues in our favor," said Mendel.

Mendel also expects the third-party backing to lend weight to Antigua's case against the United States.

"I do think [having support from third parties] helps a lot, especially the first time around, when the WTO had no experience with Antigua," he said. "Everybody thought our case was a bunch of nonsense, and at that time, the EU weighed in on our side and on the legal issues. I think it helps."