Antigua, US discuss trade dispute

Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his team (left) in discussion with U.S. Ambassador Michael Froman and his delegation of the U.S. Trade Office.
Photo courtesy of Antigua and Barbuda government

One day after Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne addressed the United Nations General Assembly during which he called on the United States government to settle the outstanding World Trade Organization (WTO) Gaming issue with Antigua and Barbuda, the prime minister held bilateral talks with senior U.S. officials designed to resolve the issue.

An Antigua and Barbuda government statement here on Monday said Browne met U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, at the U.N. Mission of Antigua and Barbuda on Friday, “where both men sat down to open dialogue about the stalled trade dispute and discussed practical ways in which the matter could be brought to a conclusion.”

Browne was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Charles “Max” Fernandez and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Colin Murdoch.

“Both sides agreed to put a team together to work out the details of their discussion, and PM Browne undertook to name his team within a week,” the statement said.

“I am encouraged that my administration has been able to secure a meeting with the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Froman so early,” said Browne, stating that Froman is a cabinet-level officer of the U.S. government, adding that “this should facilitate decision-making on policy matters.”

Browne had devoted a significant part of his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday to the WTO gaming case, claiming that the international trading system had not delivered economic justice for Antigua and Barbuda.

In his meeting with Froman, Browne outlined the economic losses suffered by Antigua and Barbuda as a result of U.S. non-compliance with the WTO ruling, according to the statement.

Both sides are expected to resume discussions in the coming weeks, the statement said.

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