The United States reached an online gambling deal with the European Union allowing it to skirt its World Trade Organization obligations, but the country will not release any details of the agreement.
Freelance journalist Ed Brayton requested the full text of the settlement from the United States trade representative under the Freedom of Information Act. His request was denied because the agreement is classified as “foreign government information,” and the information was withheld in the interest of national security.
Brayton is asking a court to review the decision and make public the documents related to the agreement.
“Americans have a right to know what kinds of trade concessions the U.S. government is granting other countries, especially when those deals have a significant impact on domestic policy and may be worth billion of dollars,” said Bonnie I. Robin-Vergeer, Brayton’s attorney.
U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio is also asking that the documents be made public.
“There is a concern that the USTR may have been ambitious in its use of a ‘national security’ classification to avoid any publicity of which new business sectors are to be subject to the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) treaty,” said DeFazio in his letter.
The U.S. decision to block the access of online gaming operators to its citizens is a violation of its commitments under the WTO GATS. While the country has said it never intended online gambling to be part of the agreement, it must still make concessions to countries affected by its refusal to abide by its GATS commitments.