The Office of the United States Trade Representative

Statement from USTR Spokesman Richard Mills Regarding the WTO Gambling dispute with Antigua and Barbuda

"This panel report is deeply flawed. In 1995, the Clinton Administration clearly intended to exclude gambling from U.S. services commitments when the Uruguay Round negotiations were completed. Throughout our history, the United States has had restrictions on gambling, like many other countries. Given these restrictions, it defies common sense that the United States would make a commitment to let international gambling operate within our borders. Antigua is arguing for a result that was never imagined, much less bargained for, in the Uruguay Round negotiations.

"Separately, the panel inappropriately found that our regulations on gambling services were a prohibited quota based on a faulty new legal theory that places unwarranted restrictions on the ability of all WTO Members to regulate their services sector.

"In addition, contrary to what the panel asserted, there is no obligation for WTO members to conduct international consultations before taking action to protect public morals and public order and enforce criminal laws. WTO members were already restricting gambling and other activities affecting public morals and public order long before they created the WTO. The WTO agreements confirmed the rights of Members to protect public morals and public order. Nothing in any WTO agreement requires Members to seek approval from their trading partners before exercising those rights. Indeed, on these grounds alone, this panel report should be of great concern to every single WTO member.

"We will vigorously appeal this deeply flawed report to the WTO Appellate Body and remain confident in the basis for reversing this panel report."