Description By Nick Skala
"Critics of the WTO recognized early on that GATS rules held the potential to infringe on the ability of governments to regulate committed services in the public interest, but trade officials assured them that such fears were unfounded. A May 2005 letter from the U.S. Trade Representative to state officials reiterated the top trade official's promises that the GATS did not pose a threat to their regulatory prerogatives, repeating eight times the Representative's view that "nothing in the GATS impedes the ability of a state to maintain or develop regulatory requirements as appropriate to each jurisdiction"
"This view has been severely undermined, however, by a pair of WTO tribunal rulings that demonstrate that the entities charged with interpreting GATS rules may hold them to extend to greater reaches than even the nations most supportive of services liberalization had intended. On March 13, 2003, the Caribbean island nation of Antigua alleged that U.S. law violated the GATS by operating to prohibit the cross-border supply of Internet gambling and betting services to the U.S. territory. "
"Lacking many kinds of traditional resources, Antigua had made the establishment of Internet- based gambling operations a central part of its economic development strategy; indeed, Antiguan lawyers submitted evidence to the WTO that, in 1999, Internet gambling revenue accounted for 10 percent of the nation's gross domestic product"
The rest of the events unfolded in a surreal series of events that illustrates the incredible naivete of the US Trade Representatives and the Lawyers who represented the United States, who attempted to maintain that the United States had the "right" to control online gambling despite its WTO commitments, which we had not been aware we were triggering, but did..
We lost the case, and negotiations to set compensation for lost potential business, which may end up reaching into billions of dollars, - or unspeakable censored are ongoing. That is barely the start of it. This case opened up a hornets nest of questions, for which there are no easy answers. Until these issues are resolved, WE ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT TRIGGER GATS ON HEALTH CARE AND DESTROY OUR CHANCES FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE USING PUBLIC PLANS FOREVER.
This is from Global Trade Watch: