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'In .... China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey, Kenya, and South Africa - the poor are slowly being absorbed into productive and growing economies. For the first time ever, we are witnessing genuinely global growth. ... It is the birth of a new global order.'

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WELCOME! is pleased to provide research, reports and recommendations to clients at home and abroad on how best to approach/cajole/lobby domestic trade officials to represent the interests of one's industry. These people are supposed to represent us, damn it. Let Biblitz help to nudge them, shall we say, in the right direction. No 'white shoe' Georgetown law firm prices, either. Submit a request for an estimate to, the unofficial tracker of online gambling, was also something of a harbinger regarding the threat of U.S. prosecution way back in 2004, when we began a blog to show the industry the wide array of laws available to the U.S. to 'seize 'n freeze' what it alone considers to be the proceeds of crime just about anywhere in the world. We were among the first to appreciate the implications of the WTO gambling decison, which, many would argue, unfairly punished sectors that had nothing to do with gambling. And this was only part of the cost of the U.S. decision to shut down its market. Unfortunately, a business that had been providing a safe, clean, green livelihood to operators and feeder industries worldwide, including PokerPulse, tanked. Ka-put. Overnight. Could online operators broadsided by U.S. proscutions of even the most respected foreign operators have done more and done it sooner to protect their valuable U.S. market? Biblitz certainly thinks so. Forewarned is forearmed.
Download the July 25/07 podcast of America's High-Stakes Response to the WTO Internet Gambling Dispute, a debate at the Cato Institute on Antigua's hollow victory at the WTO with Mark Mendel, lead counsel for Antigua and Barbuda, John H. Jackson, Georgetown University Law Center, and Sallie James, trade policy analyst, Cato Institute. Jackson famously referred to the dispute as the 'Oops' case, asserting that the U.S. never intended to include gambling services in its schedule of commitments - utter nonsense, as Antigua's mouthpiece revealed. The Clinton administration had reviewed and encouraged the tiny island to pursue its fledgling industry!

Leo, what are your views on the promise of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to facilitate greater global sharing of resources and wealth?


Biblitz replies:

One hears a lot of complaining in the west over manufacturing jobs lost when unions finally priced the western work force right out of the market, and then there is the fiction that all nations come to the WTO as equals, which is certainly not the case in disputes involving one nation with resources sufficient to ignore a panel decision, as the U.S. famously did in Antigua's WTO gambling challenge. There are other problems, too, as Public Citizen's Lori Wallach points out (see right). But trade will provide a useful tool for the world to make the most carbon-cost-effective decisions about whether and where to grow or import various goods and services. It troubles me that certain outbacks, such as Banana Canada, do not include international trade law among core subjects at its top universities, which may explain why Canada was bitch-slapped by the U.S. in the softwood lumber dispute. Nevertheless, on the whole, one would have to say that the WTO has done more good than harm. One would have to say that, yes ...

Globalization's working!

The Post-American World

By Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's GPS program on Siriux/XM 134 Sundays at 7 a.m. PT

We are now living through the third great power shift of the modern era. It could be called "the rise of the rest." Over the past few decades, countries all over the world have been experiencing rates of economic growth that were once unthinkable. While they have had booms and busts, the overall trend has been unambiguously upward. This growth has been most visible in Asia but is no longer confined to it. That is why to call this shift "the rise of Asia" does not describe it accurately. In 2006 and 2007, 124 countries grew at a rate of 4 percent or more. That includes more than 30 countries in Africa, two-thirds of the continent. Antoine van Agtmael, the fund manager who coined the term "emerging markets," has identified the 25 companies most likely to be the world's next great multinationals. His list includes four companies each from Briazil, Mexico, South Korea, and Taiwan; three from India; two from China; and one each from Argentina, Chile, Malaysia, and South Africa.

Look around. The tallest building in the world is now in Taipei, and it will soon be overtaken by one being built im Dubai. The world's richest man is Mexican, and its largest publicly traded corporation is Chinese. The world's biggest plane is built in Russia and Ukraine, its leading refinery is under construction in India, and its largest factories are all in China. By many measures, London is becoming the leading financial center, and the United Arab Emirates is home to the most richly endowed investment fund. Once quintessentially American icons have been appropriated by foreigners. The world's largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore. Its number one casino is not in Las Vegas but in Macao, which has also overtaken Vegas in annual gambling revenues. The biggest movie industry, in terms of both movies made and tickets sold, is Bollywood, not Hollywood. Even shopping, America's greatest sporting activity, has gone global. Of the top ten malls in the world, only one is in the United States; the world's biggest is in Beijing. Such lists are arbitrary, but it is striking that only ten years ago, America was at the top in many, if not most, of these categories.

... in fact, the share of people living on a dollar a day or less plummeted from 40 percent in 1981 to 18 percent in 2004, and is estimated to fall to 12 percent by 2015. China's growth alone has lifted more than 400 million people out of poverty. Poverty is falling countries housing 80 percent of the world's population. ... In .... China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey, Kenya, and South Africa - the poor are slowly being absorbed into productive and growing economies. For the first time ever, we are witnessing genuinely global growth. ... It is the birth of a new global order. (From The Rise of the Rest, pgs. 2-4)

Today's trade relationships to watch:

The Second World

Empires and Influence in the New Global Order

By Parag Khanna

So now, rather than bestriding the globe, we are competing - and losing - in a geopolitical marketplace alongside the world's other superpowers: the European Union and China. This is geopolitics in the 21st century: the new Big Three. Not Russia, an increasingly depopulated expanse run by; not an incoherent Islam embroiled in internal wars; and not India, lagging decades behind China in both development and strategic appetite. The Big Three make the rules - their own rules - without any one of them dominating. And the others are left to choose their suitors in this post-American world. ...

The Big Three are the ultimate "Frenemies." ... The main battlefield is what I call "the second world." ... Second-world countries are distinguished from the third world by their potential: the likelihood that they will capitalize on a valuable commodity, a charismatic leader or a generous patron. Each and every second-world country matters in its own right, for its economic, strategic or diplomatic weight, and its decision to tilt toward the United States, the EU or China has a strong influence on what others in its region decide to do. Will an American nuclear deal with India push Pakistan even deeper into military dependence on China? Will the next set of Arab monarchs lean East or West? The second world will shape the world's balance of power as much as the superpowers themselves will. ...

Move over, old dog, 'cause a new dog's movn' in!

What is more, many second-world countries are confident enough to form anti-imperial belts of their own, building trade, technology and diplomatic axes across the (second) world from Brazil to Libya to Iran to Russia. Indeed, Russia has stealthily moved into position to construct Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor, putting it firmly in the Chinese camp on the Iran issue, while also offering nuclear reactors to Libya and arms to Venezuela and Indonesia. Second-world countries also increasingly use sovereign-wealth funds (often financed by oil) worth trillions of dollars to throw their weight around, even bullying first-world corporations and markets. ... The second world's first priority is not to become America but to succeed by any means necessary. ... (-- pgs. 36-65)

A classic trade relationship:

Life in the Undergrowth

Narrated by nature celebrant David Attenborough

Ants herd aphids to the best possible feeding places just as human shepherds will herd their sheep to the best pastures. And just as sheep protect their flocks against wolves, so ants protect the aphids against their insect enemies. Ladybirds are among the most dangerous. They, after all, eat aphids. So the ants must get rid of them. That's not easy. It's quite hard to get a grip on the polished shell of a ladybird. But eventually success. Aphids excrete a liquid that ants relish, honeydew. That's why ants protect them.

Such close relationships are frequent among insects, perhaps because they've had so long to develop them. They appeared on land, after all, about a hundred million years before any backboned animals. And they can also evolve much faster because they can produce several generations within a single year. So, perhaps it's not surprising that they have developed relationships between one another of a complexity that blows the mind. (From Intimate Relations, Disk 2)


The ASKBiblitz Trade Chronicles, a running blog on decisions, case comments, articles and books to unravel the mysteries of international trade, agreements, disputes and their effect on real people worldwide. Please check back soon for updates.

Cocktail hour for the trade delegates. No, madam, that is not the house boot boy to be rudely escorted to the trade entrance but a noble son of the soil from the equatorial second world, a skillful trade negotiator who may be securing a new market for anything from agricultural produce to machinery. The catbird in this game is the right of one nation to add value to raw resources before re-sale.

America's guide to maintaining outdated protectionism/imperialism:

Whose Trade Organization?

A Comprehensive Guide to the WTO

By Lori Wallach and Patrick Woodall/Public Citizen

A trillion bitter grumbles each time the U.S. loses one of these disputes - even when doing so enriches the developing world ... that is, if players like the U.S. 'man' up and make the concession(s) in the panel's review or judgment. Nevertheless, Public Citizen's challenges to U.S. trade policies provide tremendous, unique insight into the ways in which nations may be said to 'contract out of' democratic decision-making when it comes to trade. Negotiating international treaties, such as trade agreements, is, after all, a national, not a provincial responsibility. When it comes to trade, the input of each fiefdom, including legislation, may be considered and disregarded entirely as Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council, 530 U.S. 363 (2000) reveals. Not surprisingly, many if not most states are loathe to comply with 'foreign' rulings over commercial and arguably moral matters - again, see Antigua's WTO gambling challenge - that don't adequately reflect the interest and/or view of the fiefdom.

The moral implications of this model have been left out of the equation altogether. Yet the poverty and economic instability being caused by the corporate globalization model is only part of the story. As critics cautioned, the WTO's built-in bias for markets, trade and commerce uber alles has made the institution a perfect venue for industry and governments to pursue attacks on the public interest that would fail in democratic forums. With the WTO ruling that a growing list of public health, environmental, food safety and development policies are illegal trade barriers, now mere threats of WTO action often result in governments weakening a policy or in chilling initiatives established through democratic domestic policy making and supported by the public.

Meanwhile, the WTO has consistently insulated the worst corporate conduct from social responsibility. As we discussed in Chapter 6, the WTO enabled Chiquita Brands International to "rent" the U.S. government, undermining the economies of several tiny banana-producing nations in the Caribbean, and assisted the U.S. Cattlemen's Association in attacking a popular European law banning artificial hormone-treated beef. Now the Bush administration has launched an attack on behalf of biotech and agribusiness interests against European policies on GMO foods and seeds. This despite the fact that polling in the U.S. shows that a majority of consumers here also would prefer the labeling and segregation of GMO and non-GMO foods that is the core of the European policy.

Despite all of the compelling evidence of the WTO's failure, the European Union continues to lead a charge - strongly supported by the U.S., Canada, Japan, and other wealthy nations - for an ambitious expansion of the WTO's constraints on government action to a whole realm of new issues and areas. Although this agenda has failed spectacularly in Seattle and Cancun, the U.S. , EU and a few other major countries continue to betray their own publics' interests and, in defense of special interests they represent, indict other nations' WTO positions to distract from the real cause of the crisis - the WTO's disastrous outcomes. (From Conclusions, p. 285)

America's trade leg-up:

Defending Interests

Public-Private Partnerships in WTO Litigation

By Gregory C. Shaffer

The United States was the first country under the GATT trading system to create a legalistic procedure through which private firms could petition their government to challenge foreign trade barriers. Much has been written on this proedure, known as Section 301, from a policy perspective, particularly on its coercive use. The scholarly debate has centered largely on whether the procedure's deployment has promoted or distorted trade liberalization goals. Some contend that Section 301 is primarily a mechanism for private interests to harness U.S. unilateral power and replace "economic efficiency with political clout as the determinate of exports in the world trading system." Others counter that Section 301 "can be a useful tool" for ensuring countries' compliance with trade commitments and for "encouraging additional liberalization in areas not covered by the WTO rules." (Footnotes omitted, p. 19)

... Under the current WTO system, the relation of U.S. private interests and public authorities is neither, as [Sylvia] Ostry [former Canadian ambassador during the Uruguay Round trade negotiations] suggests, that of lawyer-client, nor, as some trade liberals desire, that of firms acting independently of government. Rather, as a result of the system's intergovernmental structure, firms must work with USTR as a partner if they wish to successfully challenge trade barriers under WTO rules. The separate, reciprocal, overlapping interests of the USTR and the private sector give rise to ad hoc, hybrid public-private networks. The USTR depends on private sector lobbying in order to obtain support within both Congress and the administration for the USTR's policy goals and for the USTR's practical needs, from the granting of "fast-track" negotiating authority, or the ratification of new trade agreements, to approving the WTO accession of China or Russia, or the allocation of budgetary funds ...

In return, the Office of the United States Trade Representative aggressively defends industry interests, be it in multilateral or bilateral trade negotiations, WTO accession negotiations, or WTO litigation or settlement discussions. The USTR also provides exporting industries with a voice in interagency debates so that the president considers their desires when balancing multiple U.S. interests. Responding to U.S. efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property rights, Eric Smith, president of the International Intellectual Property Alliance, noted, "The U.S. government put enormous resources into the effort to convice Ukaraine to take action. We thank them for their support." When the process is successful, the president and other officials at the highest level promote issues on industry's behalf, as President Clinton did when he defended industry interests concerning pharmaceutical patent protection during his 1999 visit with Nelson Mandela in South Africa. (Footnotes omitted, pgs. 25-27)

The gold standard on how the World Trade Organization (WTO) operates:

International Trade Regulation

Looseleaf Binder with annual updates
By UK barrister Edmond McGovern

This is the book that explains the rights and duties of parties to trade agreements, how the rules work and how to make sense of the massive decisions issued by a panel of high-tone commercial/legal luminaries in each dispute. Author McGovern is himself a practitioner, which seems to make all the difference when it comes to international trade. Law professors are mostly out of their depth when it comes to trade. Their academic discourse has very little, if any, practical value.