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[greenyes] Free Trade and Public Morals

I have the greatest difficulty finding a consistent theoretical strand to
undergird the Administration's particular version of free trade (remembering
that there is no abstract definition, but rather only a political scupting
of broad principles to achieve personal objectives).

If free trade ought not be defined to intrude into domestic judgments over
public morals to protect us from sin, why ought it be permitted to trammel
domestic views over environmental rules intended to protect us from
pollutants? I am an economist, and I understand the broad principles of
free trade quite well, but I do not understand any rationale for this,
anymore than for the US Trade Office's Boeing intervention I sent along last


November 11, 2004

U.S. to Appeal
WTO Decision
On Web Gambling
November 11, 2004; Page B5
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration dismissed as "deeply flawed" a World
Trade Organization decision that the U.S. has no right to ban cross-border
gambling on the Internet.
The WTO ruling, publicly released yesterday, favored the tiny Caribbean
nation of Antigua and Barbuda in its fight against the U.S. over a
43-year-old law that bans gambling payments across state lines. Antigua
argued that the law violated a 1995 WTO agreement meant to open up parts of
other countries' service sectors.
The U.S. immediately said it would appeal the decision, arguing that it set
a new precedent for judicial activism at the WTO and threatened to insert
the 148-nation trade body into domestic deliberations over laws affecting
moral issues such as gambling and prostitution.
A senior U.S. trade official said the administration "fundamentally rejects"
an assertion within the WTO ruling that countries don't have an explicit
right to limit services affecting public morals.
The official added that even if the WTO ruling is upheld, it won't force any
change in federal or state gambling rules. At most, Antigua would be allowed
to impose punitive tariffs on U.S. exports to the twin-island nation of
67,000 people. Antigua claims the industry employs about 3,000 people, but
no figures exist on the amount of online gambling that flows through the
The case is being closely watched around the world, not just because it
involves the multibillion-dollar international gambling industry, but also
because it's the first case that the WTO has taken up concerning Internet
commerce. Many countries are skittish over what some see as the WTO's
growing intrusiveness in areas of domestic law.
U.S. trade officials were particularly alarmed over parts of the WTO ruling
that asserted that member states had to consult with other countries before
modifying laws that affect public morals.

Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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