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The Regional Integration Agreement Database

RIA database


The Regional Integration Agreement (RIA) database provides a more exhaustive source of information on trade agreements and regional organisations. It builds on five prominent databases: the Design of Trade Agreements Database (D), World Trade Organisation Regional Trade Agreements Database (WTO), the Global Preferential Trade Agreements Database (WB), the Regional Integration Knowledge System (R), and the Comparative Regional Organizations Project (C).

The final database covers 1148 trade agreements (TAs) and regional organisations (ROs) on 235 countries from 1910 to 2020 and is divided into three files: Combined Data, Dyads Data, and Membership Data.

Download the merged dataset

Last update of the data: 07/03/2023

Contact person: Justine Miller (

How to use the dataset

Short description of the contents of each file. For a full technical explanation, see the working paper linked above

Combined data.txt

This file provides information at the treaty level for all 1148 RIAs. All variables starting with the abbreviation “O” (stands for overall) are either the result of the harmonisation between the five databases, or an additional variable we created. The list below provides additional description for those variables starting with “O”. All variables from the original five databases are included and are distinguishable using the first letter of the variable. D stands for the Design of Trade Agreements Database, WTO for the World Trade Organisation Regional Trade Agreements Database, WB for the Global Preferential Trade Agreements Database (WB), R for the Regional Integration Knowledge System, and C for the Comparative Regional Organizations Project.

MainID (created): unique identifier for each treaty.

O_name (harmonised): a unique name for each treaty.

O_Parent (created): in many instances, RIAs can be linked via founding and amending treaties. When identified, we create a common ”Parent” key to help recognise them. The naming convention we use for the parent uses the current name of the organisation. We have identified 788 parents at this stage.

O_Type (created): distinguishes between bilateral and plurilateral treaties. If a treaty involves two countries, it is marked as bilateral, and in all other cases, it is marked as plurilateral. Note that in most databases, an RIA between a regional organisation and a third country would be marked as bilateral, whereas in ours, it is considered to be plurilateral. Treaties between regional organisations are also categorised as plurilateral. In total, there are 569 bilateral RIAs and 579 plurilateral RIAs in the data.

O_Type2 (created): distinguishes between TAs and ROs. Trade agreements are defined as agreements between two or more parties aimed at reducing or eliminating trade barriers, while regional organisations are defined as organisations that operate on a supra-national level and have specific mandates. In total, there are 358 regional organisations and 790 trade agreements in the data.

O_Focus (created): we classify treaties according to their focus and scope. Treaties that are multilateral or that have a non-economic focus are marked as “Non-Economic”, and the others are marked as “Economic”. We assign this classification at the parent and at the name levels. The list of parents and treaty names we mark as non-economic can be found in the working paper. If we exclude the non-economic treaties, the database contains 1069 treaties.

O_year (harmonised): captures the year of signature of a treaty.

O_yeareif (harmonised): captures the year of entry into force of a treaty (year it became ratified). The date of entry into force is not always systematically reported, so some treaties might effectively be implemented even though the databases do not report it to be. We have a year of entry into force for 758 treaties.

O_YearInactiveEnd (harmonised): the year a treaty became inactive/ended. Not all treaties that are inactive are reported. We have a year of entry into force for 250 treaties.

O_Region (created): we assign treaties to regions as described in the working paper

O_Source (created): lists all the databases that include the entry. “All” denotes entries that appear in all five databases. We use the same abbreviations as before to refer to the databases.


Membership Data.txt

Collects information on country participation to the RIAs for each year a treaty is in effect and accounting for the year of inactivity/end of an RIA if applicable. This file captures accessions and withdrawals, meaning that countries can enter and exit a treaty at any point in time of the existence of a treaty. 

The information is collected at the parent level to avoid inflating membership information. Once we have obtained membership data on one treaty within a parent group, we do not repeat that data for the remaining treaties within the same parent group. The countries are marked under the treaty currently in force.

It also includes the variables MainID and O_name to add treaty information from the Combined Data file.

Dyads Data.txt

To construct the dyads data, we start from our membership file and transform it into a country-country format. For instance, if a treaty has ten member countries in the membership file, it will contain 45 country-pairs (10*9/2).

To prevent over-inflating the data, internal RO links for RIAs between ROs or between ROs and third countries are not duplicated. For example, the treaty between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Georgia will have four links (one for each member country’s connection with Georgia) in the file. It does not repeat the internal EFTA links, which are already accounted for under the main EFTA treaty. Without this correction, there would have been ten links for this treaty (5*4/2).

It also includes the variables MainID and O_name to easily add treaty information from the Combined Data file.