Came across this interesting piece of information: complainant countries (or countries that complain against other countries’ trade barriers) in the WTO has almost a 90% chance of winning its case. This statistic is obviously well above the “win rate” of any domestic legal system (or any other international dispute system for that matter (see Political Economy of Litigation and Settlement at the WTO by Andrew Guzman of Berkeley). Simon Lester of World Trade Law came with a more exact figure 88.14% win rate for those complainants reaching WTO panel or Appellate Body levels (click here).
These findings were corroborated in "A Theory of WTO Adjudication: From Empirical Analysis to Biased Rule Development," by Juscelino Colares of the Syracuse University - College of Law, which made use of empirical analysis of WTO adjudication from 1995 through 2007, still revealing a high disparity between Complainant and Respondent success rates: Complainants win roughly ninety percent of the disputes. This statistic is obviously well above the “win rate” of any domestic legal system (or any other international dispute system for that matter). Greenwald (JIEL, 2003, 113-124) also notes that: “Countries that complain about other countries’ trade barriers have a ‘win rate’ of between 80-90 percent before WTO panels and the Appellate Body (and nearly 100 percent in cases challenging anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard measures) . . . The complainant has won all but one of the anti-dumping, countervailing duty, safeguard measure challenges.”
Compare that statistic with the Philippine win rate: 0%. We were complainants (not counting third party complaints) in four cases. We lost in the big case (really big case, still discussed in trade law courses) of dessicated coconuts. Nothing came about with the US prohibition on shrimp case. And the Australians are still cheerily waiting if we are up to proceeding on two cases we filed way back in 2002: on fruits and vegetables, and pineapples. We are the complainants in the currently ongoing Thai cigarettes II, as well as a possible respondent against the EC for our excise taxes on certain alcoholic beverages.