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Interoperability in Information Systems in the Furtherance of Trade


Urs Gasser and John Palfrey have continued to contribute to the World Trade Institute’s NCCR Trade Policy projectwith a particular focus on the interoperability as an enabler of innovation and creativity in international trade. Over the course of two years, this project has developed three in-depth exploratory studies.

Each study explores the various institutions, policies and approaches that shape the interoperability landscape and investigates the effects of these factors and drivers on trade in the globalized economy.

The series examines:
(i) to what extent and how interoperability has contributed to the promotion of international trade;
(ii) what respective roles international organizations have played in concert with other stakeholders with regard to interoperability and international trade;
(iii) what policies and approaches to supporting interoperability have been used, and with what results; and
(iv) what can be learned from these experiences with regard to emerging interoperability issues in the context of international trade.

The three studies address this set of questions from different angles, acknowledging the multi-faceted character of the concept of interoperability (Gasser & Palfrey, Basic Books 2012). Two of them “Fostering innovation and trade in the global information society: The different facets and roles of interoperability”, and “Mapping Cloud Interoperability in the Globalized Economy: Theory and Observations from Practice” – focus specifically on cloud computing, an emerging technical paradigm through which to analyze the policy relevance of interoperability in a globalized economy. This example also facilitates exploration of some of the key issues and practical challenges that arise as various stakeholders engage with cloud services, infrastructure, and data across the world, as well as the implications for trade, policy, and different actors, especially, governments.
The third study, “Interoperability in Information and Information Systems in the Furtherance of Trade” is focused on the role, current debates, and associated benefits and challenges in establishing a system of interoperability for information and information systems in the service of trade in a global economy over time.

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In early June 2012, Urs Gasser and John Palfrey released Interoperability: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems. The book is inspired by their 2005 study and…