US Response to WTO Cynical

Published May 7, 2007 by OCR Editor

US Response to WTO Cynical

We all had a guess this was coming, but the US response to international criticism of its ban on gambling has been as cynical as any. US trade representatives comments tell of a country that chooses to ignore its presence in the world as a member alongsid

Sure, the small island of Antigua, beautiful as it may be and the host of large online casino companies cannot confront the American economy with threats of trade restrictions. Any such restrictions would end up hurting the islands economy more than the American one, which also happens to be the largest one in the world.

But the recent WTO ruling that calls out the US ban on online gambling to be unfair may change things. That is at least what industry insiders thought until last week, or hoped for at the very least. The US trade representatives response pretty much put an end to that. His unsurprising comment has, unsurprisingly shut down any prospects of change. At least for the moment.

In response to the WTO ruling, the deputy US trade representatives John Veroneau did not argue but rather initiated a cynical move changing the law. By referring to gambling as recreational services, changing a 1993 federal law, would keep out the WTO from intervening in the internal recreational matters. A cynical response, if witty.

Furthermore, Mr. Veroneau added: US federal and state laws have banned interstate gambling for decades, therefore it would be nonsensical for the US to make a commitment to open up interstate gambling for foreign providers when it was unlawful for US providers. Once again, deflecting international criticism, all out ignoring a world outside US borders, is their modus operandi. The matter is internally American, sure, but clearly tied to global trade and competition, and a change of focus will not change that the least.

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