The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) are multidisciplinary networks of researchers financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation on a competitive basis. Their purpose is to coordinate Switzerland’s research efforts in fields of national strategic importance.

Objective and Context

NCCR Trade Regulation was set up at the WTI in 2005. It aims to provide a better understanding of how the world trading system functions and to explore the sources and drivers of fragmentation and coherence in global trade governance. The project is premised on the idea that academia should play a key role in identifying, analysing and offering innovative policy- and rule-making solutions to key challenges in modern trade diplomacy. 


Tackling regulatory challenges

International trade regulation transcends law and politics. World Trade Organization (WTO) law provides the main institutional framework, although it constitutes only one of many potentially applicable international regimes. NCCR Trade Regulation addresses the following important regulatory challenges:


A shifting global balance of trade powers…

…is transforming the landscape of decision-making in trade diplomacy. Such a shift can be seen not only at the state-managed level but also within the private sector.  


A growing web of preferential trade agreements…

…represents a potential line of fracture for the multilateral trade order embedded in the WTO. At the same time, such agreements offer scope for novel approaches to rule-making and market opening, creating legal precedents at the frontiers of trade regulation.


Stimulating innovation and competitiveness…

…means, among other challenges, finding a suitable balance between private intellectual property rights and sources of innovation and broad public policy interests. With access to information and new technologies being vital for economic growth, the question that arises is how international rules should better reflect the needs of national governments to facilitate economic and technological change.  


Investigating inequality…

… in light of the role that trade and development policies play. Creative solutions for managing economic migration or mitigating price risks in commodity markets are being developed to respond to the manifold challenges developing country producers and traders face in global markets.  


Climate change: innovative responses…

…hold the key to assuring sustainable development. The barriers, limits and costs of mitigation and adaptation to climate change and their impacts on cross-border trade have to be understood and assessed.


The academic world and beyond

In accordance with the objectives of the NCCR, our researchers test their findings with peers and scholars working in related areas. In addition, NCCR researchers contribute to knowledge transfer in the relevant fields through teaching, specialised training and specialist advisory services as well as by engaging in commissioned research work. 


more information

NCCR Flyer 2014