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Last updated: 20 June, 2007 - Published 10:55 GMT
 
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Antigua demands trade sanctions
 
Computer
Antigua has developing an Internet gaming industry
Antigua has asked the WTO to impose sanctions on the United States for ignoring a ruling that it has breached trade rules by effectively banning online gambling.

The government of the island nation said it was seeking compensation from the World Trade organisation worth US$3.4 billion a year.

It is asking the trade body for authorisation to ignore copyright and patent laws which it said would hit U.S. firms hard.

"We have fought long and hard for fair access to the United States market and have won at every stage of the WTO process," said Antigua's finance minister Errol Cort.

"Until such time as the United States is willing to work with us on achieving a reasonable solution to this trade dispute, we will continue to use every legitimate remedy available to protect the interests of our citizens," he added.

Arbitration

The move by Antigua came a day after the European Union told the United States it too wanted compensation for the US restrictions

Last year Washington stopped American banks and credit card companies from processing payments to online gambling businesses outside the country.

Antigua says the US ban has hurt its online gaming industry.

If the WTO backed the sanctions, the US could refer the case to arbitration, where a panel of WTO arbitrators would have to decide on the final level and scope of any sanctions.

 
 
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