The long-running, occasionally tragicomic trade dispute between America and tiny Antigua at the WTO over the cross-border provision of gambling services has sputtered into the settlement phase, according to CasinoGamblingWeb. Although Antigua has roundly defeated its lumbering, puritanical northern neighbor at every step of the …
Antigua needs trade
Antigua relies solely on tourism having abandoned any large scale farming, so pretty much all goods are imported - even has to import fresh water at times. The island is thus also very dependent on trade with its neighbours, some of which are closely allied to the USA.
Thus Antique needs to tread carefully because if they upset the USA too much, then the USA can bring indirect pressure which would make life very difficult.
Antigua can get trading partners in the EU
And pay them in "sold debt," much as mortgage brokers do with home loans.
If the US fails to satisfy the debt of several billions of doallars to Antigua, interest will accumulate, and Europe may press the claims by impounding American goods.
That would be a disaster for the Bush Administration.
Furthermore, if Antigua chooses to suspend the observance of US Patent and Copyright claims, under the terms of the WTO treaties, they may *legally* make millions of copies of movies and CDs and ship them for sale elsewhere; or, they may choose to provide safe harbor for so-called "pirate" peer-to-peer servers.
Another disaster for Bush.
And an invasion of Antigua might be the straw that breaks the camel's back, and gets both House and Senate to begin impeachment proceedings.
One may hope.
If they get 3.4 billion per annum
..they're going to have no problem getting goods from other countries, bearing in mind the small size of the island. Cuba isn't too far away.... :-)
One law to bind them all...
Except the USA, of course. It screams damn loud anytime another country acts against WTO rulings, but very conveniently doesn't abide by the very rules that THEY bloody created in the first place! They are the major promoters of the WTO, shoving it down the throats of countries who got decimated by these rules. So now when it's their turn they just ignore it? Bloody American hypocrites.
Do you honestly think american tourists care about trade sanctions from the US against Antigua? Its a holiday island not russia - get a grip
Just wait... in a few months all American tourists that go to Antigua will be considered Communist Unpatriotic Terrorist Extremists (TM) and sentenced to interrogation, torture and hard labour and then given a fair trial. Oh, and the change in policy will be retrospective so anybody having had a holidy there since 2003 will also be considered the same. Along with their families.
Bush vs The World
The problem here is that Bush's knowledge of 'The World' is formed exclusively from watching World Series baseball. No wonder he gets confused when the World Trade Organisation talks about agreements between the US and the rest of the world. He is still trying to work out which state Antigua is in.
I'm sure that he thinks he is sending troops to Bagdad Florida. It would explain why he is so worried about insurgents. He thinks he might lose control of Disneyland and he would no longer be able to get policy advise from Mickey Mouse.
Anyone remember that terrible show with Cilla Black where she sung that stupid song at the end? I can't remember what the theme was about, all I remember was that it made me feel very sick watching it. But then the question is, why did I watch it? I can't be expected to answer such questions!!! I was only about 10 at the time!!!!....... I think.....
Anyway, what does this have to do with the Anitgua Vs. US? Nothing!! I was just writing the header for my comment when the image of Cilla in a black sparkly cocktail dress popped into my head and made me gag a little.
As for my comment, I'm actually surprised and the level of surprise at the US's reaction. This was an obvious path the US was going to take with this issue. If I thought about it ahead, I would have set up a gambling company in Antigua to take bets on it. Judging by the surprise here, I would have made a fortune!!!
While the WTO is supposed to deal with the rules for trade on an international level, as with most things to the US, this translates to "rules of trade beneficial to the US". We must look to our own leaders to ensure the US government realises that this is not the case. While the EU is putting pressure on them, I must wonder exactly how much follow through they'll actually have on the matter.
There's no point in blaming Bush. He's everyones scape goat these days. I'm sure he's only vaguely aware of the situation, if at all. If the US prevail in the case, questions must be asked by our leaders. If/when the lose, and if they chose to ignore the ruling and get away with it, we cannot 100% blame America. After all, it's not exactly the safe haven for the morally superior human. We must also blame the other signatories to the WTO. It is up to us to ask our leaders why they failed to enforce the rules on the US, not just for us ask the US why they didn't follow them.
More fitting sanctions if the US keeps ignoring WTO
Wouldn't it be more fitting sanctions if the US of A keeps ignoring WTO rulings, that WTO state "All trade in US$ made by member countries must stop. The US$ cannot be used for trading inside the WTO". This would give the US some urgency to ... GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER.
What we're seeing here, is the same disregard for international rules as the "No American Citizen can be extradited" (even for international courts, such as the world tribune for war crimes) decision. The solution here, would of course be that "all US citizens outside US will be apprehended" until US of A starts abiding by international rules. Unfair, you say? No, only fair. Afterall, that's the kind of gameplay USA are using towards other countries they want to crush utterly.
On a recent trip to Cuba, i met a couple of Americans, y'know the nice kind who know there is a world beyond the US. It is still illegal for americans to travel to Cuba so these enterprising chaps went to mexico then flew from there, telling US border people they spent whole time in Mexico.
.. of course while in Cuba they told everyone they were Canadian.
Besides it is quite appealing to tourists like myself to go to a country that American doesn't have much influence in.
Rooting for Antigua
As an American I hope Antigua can really stick it to us on this one. I'm getting a little tired of our government kicking around the little guy. Hopefully in November we'll see the WTO suspend the copyright and patent laws for Antigua. That's pretty much the only way that real change is going to happen. Not to mention I'd love to see the guys at the RIAA and MPAA crap their pants when a ruling like that comes down. It's a win-win situation for Antigua and US consumers. We'll get music and movies for what they really should cost and Antigua gets its economy back :-)
You better believe that once $1-$5 CDs and DVDs start hitting the markets the RIAA and MPAA will force the US to repeal it's online gambling laws. So while we'll lose the cheap CD and DVDs after a short spat, we'll get back the ability to play poker online again so we won't need the crappy movies/pop music to satisfy our boredom anymore.
Remember, it's not just Antigua. The WTO ruling extends to the EU as well. After the Microsoft judgement, suspending IP obligations to the US would be a great way of killing two birds with one stone.
EU & Beyond
It occurs to me the the optimal approach is for the whole world to adopt the same strategy in Antigua - suspension of IP obligations. The US is uniquely vulnerable to this, because so much of its exports these days are IP - music, video, software, technology - stuff which other nations can make for themselves at zero cost by simply copying what the US has already sold them.
They've already lost the case, and the appeal - they're just trying to ignore it in the hope it'll all go away.
Given the way things are going, it's going to cost them an arm and a leg if they don't pull their thumbs out and make a reasonable offer of recompence.
I can't see Antigua getting invaded or labelled as part of the Axis of evil (but then what do I know?) on the back of this but can someone convince me that a covert coup in Antigua a la Operation Ajax would not end this problem for the US?