We reported two weeks ago on Antigua’s desire to go thermonuclear, now its official, the Antiguan Government is taking another step towards forcing the US government to abide by the WTO rulings that all favoured the Antigua government in the area of remote gambling.
CalvinAyre.com received a letter from the Antiguan Finance Minister Harold Lovell outlining their strategy moving forward.
In the letter, Lovell outlines the countries need to force the US government to abide by the WTO rulings on remote gambling that were universally in the island nation’s favour. Lovell cites the need to boost the economy that has suffered during the recent economic downturn. He emphasizes the importance of the online gambling industry to the local economy and stresses that if given fair access to the US market, as they are legally allow under the WTO, it will means a significant boost to their economy.
Lovell lays out his government’s commitment to “taking a more aggressive stance with the U.S. in general; and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in particular. We have agreed on a definitive strategy to leverage the intellectual property sanctions awarded to us by the WTO some years ago to bring increasing pressure on the American government to comply with WTO rulings or at least conclude a settlement with Antigua and Barbuda that will provide substantial value to the remote gaming industry and our economy to compensate all of us for the illegal U.S. actions.”
The country is retaining elite DC based communications and public relations firm LEVICK. The group is known for their advocacy and public affairs campaigns with sovereign nations who are involved in complex, politically sensitive international relations and trade disputes with the United States Government.
In the letter, the Antigua Government lays out the goals and strategies for their public relations campaign.
Condition the environment to force the U.S. to resolve this dispute favourably to the Antiguan position.
• Multiply Antigua’s reach and recruit powerful allies in the U.S. to advocate for resolution.
• Capitalise on these efforts to complete a final and satisfactory resolution of the dispute by negotiated settlement with the American government.
• Create painful and immediate consequences for the U.S.—and, specifically for influential companies in the U.S.—if it fails to comply with the WTO decision by incrementally moving towards the implementation of the IP sanctions against vulnerable targets such as the motion picture and recording industries as well as key computer software companies in America.
• Organise a delegation from Antigua to the U.S. to meet with policymakers and advocates to increase support for the Antiguan position. Additionally, organise a delegation of U.S. lawmakers, media, and advocates to attend a policy summit in Antigua focused squarely on ending the blockade of online gaming.
• Mobilise and deploy U.S.-based think tanks, third-party organizations, and advocates to support Antigua’s position.
The Antigua Governments Public relations campaign plan intends to win the hearts and minds of some key potential allies in their fight. They site, industries whose products and intellectual property (IP) could be targeted by Antiguan trade sanctions, Think Tanks such as Competitive Enterprise Institute, CATO Institute and the Consumer Electronics Association, Free Trade and IP advocates, Online Gaming advocates such as the American Gaming Association and the National Indian Gaming Association, and members of congress.
The Antiguan government’s choice of firm won’t be cheap as the PR Firm LEVICK will be charging the country $40,000 a month plus expenses which are estimated to be another $10,000. The Antiguan government figures the total cost of the campaign will be about $600,000 as it runs it’s course, which includes government travel and legal fees. Considering the millions of dollars flowing through Washington during the presidential campaign, $600,000 might turn out to be a bargain if the Antiguan government can finally make some headway in their WTO fight.
Lovell closes with a thank you for all those willing to help in the fight, “I want to extend my personal thanks to you for your consideration of this action plan. We look forward to advancing this effort which will benefit the remote gaming industry, the financial services industry, as well as the government and citizens of Antigua and Barbuda.”