The World Trade Institute (WTI) is a centre of excellence of the University of Bern, Switzerland entailing some 50 staff members. Established in 1999 by Thomas Cottier, Petros Mavroidis and economists Jaime de Melo, Damien Neven and Jean-Louis Juvet, it is one of the world’s leading academic institutions dedicated to international trade. The WTI transcends boundaries fusing law, economics and international relations in interdisciplinary research, training, advisory work and technical assistance in Switzerland and abroad.
The executive master programme MILE (Master of International Law and Economics) consists of a nine months’ intensive course on international trade law and policy, essentially covering in detail the law of trade in the WTO and increasingly so by preferential trade agreements. Students in law, economics and international relations are trained by in-house staff and international faculty. They are prepared to assume functions in government, international organizations, NGOs, and law firms. The programme has been supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, including partnerships with the University Catolica in Lima Peru, the Foreign Trade University in Hanoi, The Mandela Institute of the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg and the Universitas Pelita Harapan in Djakarta, Indonesia, all with the aim to assist these Universities to develop teaching international economic law. The Institute hosts an annual Summer Academy of five weeks. Since 1997, the World Trade Forum has been a flagship conference in the field, resulting in volumes published by Michigan and Cambridge University Press Moreover, the WTI has been active in external programmes, mainly training government officials in a number of countries. The Institute hosts the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) International Trade regulation (2006-2017) . Due to its research activities, it was able to train young academics in the doctoral programme, dedicated to continue work in the field of international trade regulation, globalization and economic integration.