Maybe The US Can Ignore Antigua, But EU Is Another Story
from the high-stakes dept
Antigua can complain all it wants about the US blocking its online gambling industry, but its threats are dulled by the fact that Antigua doesn't represent a major trading partner. So, other than setting up some sort of allofmp3.com-style music site, there's not much it can do to retaliate. But now the EU is jumping into the fray, complaining that the US' move to block online gambling sites contravenes WTO agreements. And unlike Antigua, the EU does have serious retaliatory weapons at its disposal because it's such an important trading partner. Unfortunately for online gambling enthusiasts, the EU isn't trying to get the ban overturned, but it's exploring how it can be compensated for lost business. Most likely, it will seek to slap certain US goods with high tariffs. An economist would say that retaliatory trade barriers don't make any sense and that they essentially amount to cutting off one's nose to spite their face. However, that's never stopped countries from engaging in this practice in the past. Given that the WTO is likely to side with the EU on this question (as it has with Antigua), it would appear that the US will have to pay a price for its stance.