Given the bilateral structure of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process, several scholars have concluded that success in the process is determined by the complainant state's ability to make a credible and potentially harmful retaliatory threat to the respondent state. Previous research has found that the trade relationship between the two states in a dispute influences the potential potency of retaliatory threats. This analysis builds off of previous studies and hypothesizes that membership in a Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) will increase a state's bargaining position and its success in the dispute process. A probit regression is used to test this hypothesis. Fifty-seven dispute settlement cases from 1995-1998 are included in the analysis. The results indicate that RTA membership does increase a state's likelihood of success in the WTO dispute settlement process, but only for the complainant state in the dispute.
Journal of World Trade