Data, Tools and Analysis

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About the project

This project provides data and analysis on the content of deep trade agreements.


Deep Trade Agreements are reciprocal agreements between countries that cover not just trade but additional policy areas, such as international flows of investment and labor, and the protection of intellectual property rights and the environment. While these agreements are still referred to as trade agreements, their goal is integration beyond trade or deep integration.

Preferential trade agreements have always been a feature of the world trading system but have become more prominent in recent years. The number of PTAs has increased from 50 in the early 1990s to roughly 300 in 2019. All WTO members are currently party to at least one and often several PTAs. PTAs have expanded their scope. While the average PTA in the 1950s covered 8 policy areas, in recent years they have averaged 17.

Deep trade agreements matter for economic development. The rules embedded in DTAs, along with multilateral trade rules and other elements of international economic law such as bilateral investment agreements, influence how countries (and, hence, the people and firms that live and operate within them) transact, invest, work, and, ultimately, develop. Trade and investment regimes determine the extent of economic integration, competition rules affect economic efficiency, intellectual property rights matter for innovation, and environmental and labor rules contribute to environmental and social outcomes. This database provides the tools to analyze these new dimensions of integration to better identify the content and consequences of DTAs.


To assess the content of deep trade agreements the following datasets have been created:

1. Deep Trade Agreements database 1.0 (horizontal depth)

This dataset maps the coverage of 52 selected policy areas in 279 PTAs notified at WTO signed between 1958 and 2015. It also includes information about legal enforceability of each policy area. This dataset captures the extensive margin of the content of Deep trade agreements.

Suggested Citation:

Hofmann Claudia, Alberto Osnago and Michele Ruta, (2017). "Horizontal Depth: A New Database on the Content of Preferential Trade Agreements". Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 7981. Washington, D.C: World Bank Group.

2. Deep Trade Agreements database 2.0 (vertical depth)

This database provides detailed information on the content of a sub-sample of eighteen policy areas most frequently covered in a set of 283 agreements currently notified to the WTO between 1958 and 2017. For each agreement, the database covers the stated objectives and substantive commitments, as well as aspects relating to transparency, procedures and enforcement. This database represents the most comprehensive effort in terms of the coverage of policy areas and the granularity of information within each area. This database is the result of collaboration with experts in different policy areas from academia and from other international organizations such as the ITC, OECD, UNCTAD, and WTO.

Suggested citation for the Handbook of Deep Trade Agreements:

Mattoo, Aaditya; Rocha, Nadia; Ruta, Michele. 2020. Handbook of Deep Trade Agreements. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Suggested citation for specific chapters:

Author(s) Last name(s), first name(s). 2020, “Chapter title”, in A. Mattoo, N. Rocha, M. Ruta (eds.), Handbook of Deep Trade Agreements, Washington, DC: World Bank.