ST JOHN'S, Antigua, Jan. 31, CMC - The opposition Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ALP) has expressed concern about the stance being taken by the Baldwin Spencer led administration concerning the Internet Gaming Dispute at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In a statement on Thursday, ALP Leader, Gaston Browne said the country is on a collision course with the United States.
"This collision course is not only with the US government but with several important and wealthy organizations that represent tens of thousands of copyright holders in the United States.
These include the National Music Publishers' Association, and the International Intellectual Property Alliance that represents seven trade associations, including the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Business Software Alliance.
According to Browne the organisations have indicated that they will retaliate.
In public statements, they have made it clear that they “will work to ensure that Antigua’s eligibility to participate in any U.S. trade assistance or benefit is withdrawn…. Further, retaliation will not be limited to trade benefits and assistance.
It will include ease of travel into the United States, banking relationships including money transfers, and help to institutions such as the coast guard.
He said if the Government proceeds with plans not to pay copyright to US copyright holders, the government can expect to be sued in US courts by powerful copyright organisations.
"Judgements against the government could result in Antigua and Barbuda’s assets in the US being seized, including payments by tour operators and travel agents. Beyond all of this which is bad enough, Antigua and Barbuda has copyright obligations by binding international treaties apart from the WTO."
The opposition leader stated that the ALP rejects "this disastrous course on which the UPP seems determined to set our country, and we will hold the UPP responsible for its consequences should they proceed."
On Monday , the Government of Antigua and Barbuda announced that it had been granted authorisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to suspend certain concessions and obligations it has under international law to the United States in respect of intellectual property rights.