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European Union Waits as WTO Gaming Dispute Simmers

European Union Waits as WTO Gaming Dispute Simmers 0001

Recent comments by European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson regarding the ongoing international trade disputes with the United States over online gambling continue to show the current U.S. administration at loggerheads with the rest of the Western world on the matter. The EU is the largest claimant in terms of potential damages in the World Trade Organization dispute originally brought by Antigua and Barbuda, and continues to press the issue despite U.S. reticence to enter constructive negotiations.

Mandelson again spoke out against the U.S.'s protectionist stance in recent comments made before the European Parliament, where he stated that the U.S.'s plans for compensation are inadequate. "The U.S. has so far opted for compensation to make right what is wrong," said Mandelson. "I don't think compensation does that job."

The EU stands to receive as much as $100 billion in compensatory damages from the U.S. if a regulatory solution is not found. "What we really need is for the legislation to be put right and for foreign operators to stop being excluded and discriminated against in the way the present U.S. legislation does," continued Mandelson, in his comments.

Mandelson also met late last month with U.S. Representative Barney Frank, whose proposed IGREA (Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act) picked up three more co-sponsors in recent days, swelling that number to 44. Mandelson is believed to agree with trade experts' consensus that a bill such as Frank's would remove the protectionist barriers judged illegal in the landmark WTO issued in Antigua's favor, and make the need for arbitrated compensation to the EU and other damaged parties unnecessary.

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