With Antigua, it’s $21 million. Maybe with China it’s going to be U.S. $21 billion. One of the messages we want to get across is that the WTO was sold to smaller countries as a level playing field and a way for them to expand the reach of commerce, subject to a set of rules that apply to everybody. I think more than anything else, this case is about fairness. The WTO is supposed to be fair.”
The United States is concerned, however, that the Arbitrator agreed with Antigua’s request to suspend WTO concessions not just with respect to services, but also with respect to intellectual property rights (IPR). Any authorization pursuant to the award would be strictly limited to Antigua; every other WTO Member remains obliged to protect U.S. IPR under WTO rules, including enforcement against any IPR-infringing goods. Moreover, even with respect to Antigua, it would establish a harmful precedent for a WTO Member to affirmatively authorize what would otherwise be considered acts of piracy, counterfeiting, or other forms of IPR infringement. Furthermore, to do so would undermine Antigua’s claimed intentions of becoming a leader in legitimate electronic commerce, and would severely discourage foreign investment in the Antiguan economy."
The delicious and tsunami-scale irony is that now Antigua (population 88,000 and GDP $1 billion) is being "borrowed" by gambling interests to cross-retaliate against the United States - by removing intellectual property rights from U.S. products in the first use of such a sanction. Except, wait, didn't Ralph Nader warn against just this scenario of some commercial interest finding a tiny country to attack U.S. public interest policies back when the WTO was being debated?"