back to article As US threatens to trash GATS, Antigua responds

Little Antigua just can't be bullied. Like the weakling in some Hollywood teen summer flick, the tiny island nation keeps coming back. The world's most incomprehensible trade dispute seems poised to set a rather nasty precedent for America, as reports out of the tiny island nation indicate that its demands for compensation …


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  1. Micha Roon

    Amazing obnoxiousness

    How arrogant can you get? Apparently there is no limit to arrogance.

    It strikes me that the US pretend to be the country of free trade and competition and at the same time they set up tarrifs on everything they can not compete on. Like sugar or steel or lumber.

    The US is no serious contract partner and the world should just go ahead without them. Unfortunately this is not possible.

    It is not only the Bush administration who can not be trusted as the canadian experienced when they had the dispute over softwood lumber. A US court decided the Canadian were right, but nothing changed.

    The international law do only apply as long as it suits the American. Is that a good approach to law and order?

    The real question is what can be done against someone like the US who is in a strong position? They might retaliate in so many ways that sentencing them to anything is difficult.

    Micha Roon

  2. Magnus Egilsson

    Bush administration vs. USA

    They (the administration) really have to change PR unless they are of course aiming to represent the US as blatantly ignorant bastards on a holy crusade to destroy the rest of human civilisation with their sick greed. I wonder if the nation at large is happy with this image?

  3. Edwin

    re: Bush administration vs. USA

    To be honest, I think the bulk of the nation at large doesn't care.

    To illustrate - after Bush "won" his first election, the BBC took to the streets asking Americans what they thought of the whole mess:

    Response #1 : "This just shows that America is a functional democracy and that democracy really works!"

    Response #1 was typical of tourists (and so to my mind the bulk of Americans living at home)

    Response #2 : Hide under jacket and mumble something along the lines of "ooooohhhhhh - go awaaaaaaaaaay - I'm soooo embarassed" (you get the idea)

    Response #2 was typical of expats (the vast minority for most countries)

  4. Eduard Coli

    US out of WTO NOW!

    The US does not as a whole benefit from agreements through the WTO, only the top 10% perhaps. For them is was a way to skirt tariffs and bypass Congress.

    That would explain why diplomats from the US worked so hard for GATS.

    The WTO has cost everyone else in the US employment and/or many many tax dollars.

    The WTO is a US bashing club but if the WTO wanted to be fair they would also turn around and charge Antigua for the massive credit card fraud that was perpetrated there before the online gambling ban and still goes on.

    Besides why should Antigua be awarded future damages when victims of identity theft due to inept data handling by corporations are not?

  5. Raheim Sherbedgia

    @US out of WTO NOW!

    WTF are you talking about? A huge majority of the things consumers purchase at such affordable prices are a direct result of WTO negotiations. Union based organizations are the biggest job loosers and they needed a wake up call anyway. Union's in the US have become complacent and their mindset of a "right to work" and entitlement cost US citizens far more that equitable tradeoffs through WTO.

    Antigua qualifies for damages because we (the US) are not living up to our part of the bargain. When a corporation exposes you to identity theft it is because you agreed to provide them with sensitive information, you were not forced to do so. You want their product so badly you are wiling to jeapordize your privacy. The consumer is to blame 90% of the time in identity theft cases.

  6. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    If we ask Her Majesty real nice, will England take us back?

    I am not saying you have a better government then the USA, but at least you have someone at the top that you love.

    The republicans tout "Family Values" and fight pot, porn, and poker, yet steal the mothers away from children by creating an economy in which parents need three full time jobs just to meet living expenses.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: US out of WTO NOW!

    In conclusion, the US is a nation that freely adheres to international agreements so that:

    - unemployment goes up

    - tax revenue goes down

    - it can enjoy getting bashed by international partners

    - but the top 10% can make more money

    If that is the case, the first conclusion is that Congress really does not need to be bypassed in the first place. The second is that yielling "US out of WTO now" in the El Reg comment section is just feebly howling at the moon.

    You can still "buy American" ... oh wait!

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    RE: The consumer is to blame 90% of the time in identity theft cases.

    I'm sure the millions who have had their personal details exposed due to the loss/theft of some accounting/security consultant's laptop will be delighted to know that.

  9. RRRoamer

    So when is the WTO going to rule that refunding VAT on exports is illegal???

    As the WTO has forced down import duties, countries (other than the US) has transfered the taxation from import duties to VATs. Then they turn around and REFUND companies VATS on products that that export.

    When the US did this on income taxes to US corporations, the WTO cried "corporate subsidy!!!" When all the other countries in the WTO refund VAT, well, that is just normal business policy, now isn't it?

    The net result (for those of you who can't figure it out for yourself), is that the US effectively has major import duties when selling our goods to countries that they do NOT have selling their goods to us. But no one seems to care about this huge inequity against the US.

    And there is one other aspect of all this no one seems to pay any attention to: The US is actually a FEDERATION of states. The Federal government can decided if they want to allow a good or service to be imported into the US, but the states still have the individual right to say "not here!" There is only a hand full of states where this type of gambling is even legal (It used to only two places in the US, but the decision that Native Americans can do what they want on reservation property has expanded that to a LOT of new locations in the last decade or so). So even if the US government DID allow all this gambling into the US, it would STILL be illegal in the vast majority of states. Of course, like much of the Constitution, the separation of powers is DEFINITELY being eroded in this country.

    And neither the US government not WTO has the power to force these states to legalize internet gambling (or any other type of gambling for that matter). Some of you might be surprised to learn that the US government does not have the power to enter into a treaty with another country that is unconstitutional. And if the US government doesn't have the Constitutional power to force the states to do something, then they don't have the power/right to enter into a treaty that tries to force the states to do that same thing.

    Oh and for the "Right to work" poster. "Right to Work" in the US is more of an ANTI labor union law. Basically, it is a law that says "you have the RIGHT TO WORK at someplace that has a union WITHOUT being forced to join the union". I'm all for "Right to Work"!

  10. Rich Silver badge

    Re: If we ask Her Majesty real nice, will England take us back?

    > I am not saying you have a better government then the USA, but at least you have someone at the top that you love.

    Not really. We just appear to have temporarily mislaid the guillotine we borrowed from the neighbours a while back. Must go have a cup of tea and think on it.

    Aargh...Unless you think we love Gordon Brown? Hanging from a lamppost would be too good for the likes of him (not to mention his predecessor).

  11. PT


    @RRRoamer - what the hell are you talking about?

    No European company registered for VAT pays any VAT - EVER. They just lend money to the Government and get it back off the next guy up the chain. They do, on the other hand, pay corporate income taxes on a much more lavish scale than American corporate welfare layabouts.

    Regarding state gambling laws, the main concern for most states is the fear of competition with their own corrupt gambling scams, aka lotteries, which offer paybacks so unfavorable that that they make the old Mafia numbers racket seem extraordinarily generous by comparison. If they have a moral problem with gambling they have a clean-up opportunity close to home.

    And ah yes, the "right to work" laws. Somehow you erroneously inserted the word "union" in your diatribe. In "right to work" states, only union workers have any rights. Everyone else can be walked out the door at any moment, for any reason or none, with no compensation nor any recourse whatsoever.


  12. Eduard Coli

    @ Raheim Sherbedgia

    The so called price savings to consumer aspect is a myth. Any savings from access to cheap imports is absorbed by the corporation. How is that executive payola is at a all time record high corresponding with access to cheap imported goods and foreign slave labor.

    Almost every endeavor these days involving money and/or government REQUIRES personal details. This not including legal or illegal data trolling.

    No the US out of the WTO would far benefit the US.

  13. grant

    Rrroamer's excuses for the US ignoring their treaty obligations

    1) if the US has a problem with UK VAT then they can take it to arbitration (unless they expect every country to ignore rulings like they do).. but that's nothing to do with this issue.

    2) if the US Federal Government "cannot constitutionally" represent its states, then it shouldn't have signed an agreement saying it could!

    3) If states restrict gambling, then let them enforce their own laws. It's not the federal government's job to pick & choose which states' laws it will decided to impose upon the whole country.

    Bottom line, the USA signed an agreement, and they're embarrassing themselves by not fulfilling their bargain. At the very least they should withdraw if they're not willing to keep their word.

  14. Richard Neill

    IP haven

    If Antigua is very lucky, the USA will remain intransigent on gambling. Then, Antigua is released from all its obligations on "IP" in return. Becoming an "Intellectual Property Haven" would be even more lucrative for Antigua than being a tax haven.

    [Consider, for example, that the reason so many of the big Chemical companies are Swiss is because at the time they were founded, Switzerland had no patents]

  15. Ru

    IP 'Havens' fund international terrorism, heroin smuggling and paedophilia

    This would of course be a splendid reason for the US to send in peace keepers, to bring law, democracy and freedom to this benighted, corrupt little island state.

  16. Micha Roon

    US out of WTO?

    just wait another 10 years and it won't matter what the US of A does. It will have been overtaken by China and India.

    Unless someone manages to organize a war in the region...

  17. Toby

    IP Haven

    Maybe the US will just plant a load of nukes in... and then tell antigua that there not trying to intimidate them etc. theyre just gona water them and watch the pretty flowers grow....

    Russia anyone?

  18. John Dougald McCallum

    @ Rich

    "Not really. We just appear to have temporarily mislaid the guillotine we borrowed from the neighbours a while back." Hey Rich it's in Halifax on Gibet St you want to borrow it it'll need sharpening a bit,it's a while sinceit was last used.

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