US makes compensation offer to European Union

The government of the United States has made its first compensation offer to the European Union (EU) following its withdrawal from World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations, according to the Financial Times newspaper.

The recent newspaper report claims that European gambling groups are currently pressing the EU to reject as inadequate the American compensation offer for losses suffered when the US passed its Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) legislation last year restricting online betting.

Earlier this year, the WTO ruled that Washington reneged on a commitment to open its market and should compensate the EU, the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda where many online gambling companies are based, and other countries claiming damages.

Over the weekend, the EU was awarded an extension until October 22 to study the US compensatory offer, which was made by the US Trade Representative just before the WTO deadline last Saturday giving claimants insufficient time to study the proposal.

The initial American offer, the newspaper said, is believed to include opening opportunities in the storage, warehouse services and technical testing sectors to make up for any economic damage caused to other WTO members by the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from its trade obligations on online gambling in the Uruguay Round over a decade ago.

The withdrawal followed a drawn-out WTO dispute with the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which the Americans lost. “We are examining the value of the offer and it will be discussed at EU talks next week,” an unnamed EU official is quoted in the newspaper.