Digital Technologies and Trade Governance (NCCR Trade Regulation)

DURATION OF THE PROJECT: September 2011 - June 2016

This project, led by PD Dr. Mira Burri and Prof. Dr. Thomas Cottier, NCCR Director, examined the implications and effects of new digital technologies to trade governance frameworks, governance mechanisms and international trade regulation. The research focused on fields such as intellectual property protection, government procurement and the regulation of new emerging technologies.



Against the backdrop of the sweeping transformations brought about by digital technologies, the project had two distinct sets of objectives. 

In a micro context, the project sought to offer a comprehensive package of recommendations for redesigning international trade regulation, in particular in the field of services, so that it could appropriately reflect the practical reality of doing trade in the internet age and accommodate future advances. The enquiries dealt with the law of the WTO but accounted for the pertinent developments in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and anticipated the legal engineering that possibly could unfold in the big trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Agreements.

In a macro context, the project considered the type of ‘messy’ digital governance that maps onto a highly diverse and fragmented world of legal relations. Under such circumstances, the sustainable provision of global public goods may be rendered difficult and it was the project’s objective to address the challenge of balancing economic interests of private actors and ensuring competitive markets against safeguarding public objectives, such as freedom of information. In this part of the project, the aim was to make good use of new governance theories and explore the case of transnational governance in the specific instance of the internet and internet-related regimes.





Project Leader: PD Dr. Mira Burri; Co-Leader: Prof. Dr. Thomas Cottier, NCCR Director