Published On: Fri, Oct 21st, 2016

US-China WTO wrangle strengthens Antigua-Barbuda resolve against US

li_browneST JOHN’S - Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has noted the robust response on 18 October by the United States government to a trade dispute with China, discussed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the US House of Representatives, Kevin Brady, has called the action against China a “victory”, describing it as "another example of how our nation wins when we rigorously enforce our trade agreements."

Brady went on to say that the US “must continue to hold China and our trading partners accountable”.

Browne said that he expects the US government to uphold its obligations to Antigua and Barbuda, arising from a WTO judgment over Internet gaming, in the same way that US officials demand compliance from other countries.

Joining in US triumphalism on the China matter, the US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, said in a statement, "This is another important victory for United States aerospace manufacturers, and the many thousands of American workers and families they employ.”

Browne observed that, more than 12 years after winning a judgment at the WTO against the US for a violation of WTO trade rules, “Antiguan and Barbudan workers and their families are yet to see the US compensate our country for the sum of US$21 million per year since 2007 that the WTO ruled is due to our country”.

In this connection, Browne disclosed that Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US, Sir Ronald Sanders, who was tasked in August this year to lead discussions with the US, has been instructed to re-energise discussions with the US Trade Representative’s Office to secure Antigua and Barbuda’s entitlements, or the government will be forced to implement the terms of the WTO award against the US.

The award allows Antigua and Barbuda to sell US copyrighted material without paying fees or royalties up to the sum of US$21 million per annum.

The prime minister also disclosed that, in a few weeks’ time, his government will inform the WTO of the continued failure of the US to settle the matter and of the steps being contemplated to hold its trading partner to account.

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