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Debate in Congress

The United States move to withdraw its gambling commitment in the GATS triggered a round on consultations with partners who were affected by this change.  The United States invoked the Article XXI process of GATS to withdraw the commitment as allowed under WTO rules. 

At the same time, USTR had to negotiate not only with Antigua--but with other nations whose on-line gaming businesses would be adversely affected. 

Within the GATS schedule, the US had to provide new sectoral offerings (such as electricity, health services) or it could remove previous limitations in a partially-committed sector.  One example eagerly sought by India and other developing-world partners are increases in 'Mode 4' (movement of natural persons/temporary worker) commitments by the United States.

Whatever the case, the U.S. is obliged to offer compensation to affected countries in order to maintain trade, on terms no less favorable than those set out in the original schedule.

A 14 March 2008 letter from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and Representative Ron Paul wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab seeking details of trade concessions made by the United States in those negotiations.  The letter noted that:

Press reports have indicated that new trade opportunities will be provided in the postal and courier, research and development, storage and warehouse, and testing and analysis sectors, but no dollar amount has been attached to these new concessions, and very few specifics have been provided.



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