Project description

In a nutshell

The Design of Trade Agreements (DESTA) project aims to systematically collect data on various types of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). These may be customs unions, free trade agreements or partial free trade agreements (or what economists often call economic integration agreements). DESTA covers approximately 790 PTAs with information on a large set of design features, including sector coverage, depth of commitments, trade integration and compliance tools for the time period between 1947 and 2010. So far we have coded 587 agreements (as of June 2013).


DESTA started in 2009 as a project within the NCCR Trade Regulation network. The leading house is the World Trade Institute, an interdisciplinary institute based at the University of Bern. In the first four years, we collected information on the existence of PTAs (and related documents) and coded a substantial number of treaties. In the years 2013-2017, we aim to consolidate the database, update it and expand it through cooperation with other colleagues.

About this website

This website has been built to create a tool for the DESTA researchers to communicate with the broader public, experts, media and researchers. In the download section, we offer various data sets for download.

How to cite

Users of DESTA are asked to cite Dür, A., Baccini L., and Elsig M. 2014. The Design of International Trade Agreements: Introducing a New Dataset. The Review of International Organizations. Available at: and here (pre-publication version)


Should you find inconsistencies in our coding or would you like to share comments, please do contact us.

World Trade Institute