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Dr. Ram Upendra Das is the first Head and Professor, Centre for Regional Trade, an autonomous institute under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, New Delhi.

Until recently, he was Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi. 

His broad areas of specialization include International Economics and Development Policy. 

He is Non- Resident Senior Fellow at the Hazar Strategy Institute, Istanbul, 2016 and Honorary Fellow, Academy for World Watch, Shanghai, China.

During his 26 years of research experience he has conducted and supervised a number of studies for various institutions including the ADB,Commonwealth Secretariat, ILO, SPF, Japan Economic Foundation, ERIA, EXIM Bank of India, SAARC Secretariat, UNDP, UNESCAP , the World Bank and various Think-Tank institutions and different Ministries of the Government of India.

He has also contributed to various studies, including the inter-governmental Joint Study Groups (JSGs), and international negotiating processes on behalf of the Government of India in the context of India’s economic engagements with other countries. These include countries and groupings such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, SAARC, Thailand, ASEAN, Singapore, GCC, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. He was a member of the Track II Study Group of the CEPEA under the East Asia Summit process. He has also handled the issue of rules of origin negotiations for all the countries with which India has been engaging under trade agreements including the EU, MERCOSUR, Japan and South Korea. He has been member of various committees and expert groups of the Indian government. His work has directly contributed to policy-making processes, also through inter-country negotiations. 

He contributed to drafting of the SAFTA Treaty and SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services for the SAARC Secretariat. He also contributed to resolving complex issues during the India-ASEAN trade negotiations.

He is presently Member of the Expert Group on Rules of Origin set up by the Government of India.

He is also Member of the Academic Advisory Board on Centre for International Business at the Birla Isntitute of Management and Technology (BIMTEC) and Member of the Academic Council of the Post-Qualification Course on WTO of the Institute for Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

He was invited as a State Guest by the US Department of State and the Government of Indonesia; and as a Resource Person by the Government of Maldives.

He has written several invited research papers and presented them at international conferences held in India and abroad at institutions of eminence in the US, Europe and Asia: 

India: Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad; Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mumbai; CDS, Trivandrum; University of Mizoram, Aizawl; TERI, Gurgaon; CII; FICCI; Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI); IIFT; South Asian University; ICRIER; JNU; Delhi School of Economics; IEG; IIMC; Foreign Service Institute; IDSA; IGNOU; National Academy for Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN); Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi. 

Abroad: Loughborough University, UK; Australian National University, Canberra; Goodenough College, Queen Mary University of London; Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs, Tokyo; Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), Tokyo; JETRO-Bangkok Research Centre, Bangkok; CPD & BIDS, Dhaka; ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta; Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Jakarta; Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Kuala Lumpur;  Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), Colombo; Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad; American Economic Association- ASSA Annual Meeting, New Orleans; German Development Institute, Bonn; Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and University of Paris –X, Paris; WCO, Brussels; Shanxi University, Taiyuan; Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok; and IPA (Prime Minister’s Office) Brunei.

He has numerous publications to his credit on issues relating to international economics and development, including peer-reviewed journals and three books. The most recent books include Perspectives on Rules of Origin, Palgrave-Macmillan: UK (2011) and Regional Trade and Economic Integration, World Scientific: Singapore and New Jersey (2012).

He has also written articles in leading national and international newspapers/magazines and has been interviewed in both print and electronic media.

He obtained his Ph.D. and M.Phil degrees in Economics from the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

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Recent Activities


Made a presentation in a seminar on "India as an Economic Hub for Integrating East and South-East Asia with the Rest of Asia" organized by Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Jakarta, Indonesia on 23-26 February, 2017.

Participated as a panelist in the T20 Africa Conference themed "Africa and the G20: Building alliances for sustainable development" organized by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) along with the T20 Germany Co-chairs German Development Institute/Deutsches institute fur Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and the Institute for the World Economy (IFW Kiel), Johannesburg, South Africa on 1-3 February, 2017

Meeting with South Korean Officials on "India-South Korea Bilateral Economic Relations" organized by the Embassy of South Korea, New Delhi on 17 January 2017.

Participated as a resource person in the 50th session of the APTA Standing Committee on "Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement: A future roadmap" on 11-12 January, 2017 and the Fourth session of the Ministerial Council of APTA on 13 January, 2017 organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Bangkok, Thailand.

Participated in a meeting on "Joint Feasibility Study Group (JFSG)" organized by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi on 9 January, 2016.

Participated in the "First Committee Meeting of the Economic Affairs Committee" organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi on 06 January, 2016.

Participated as a panelist in a High-Level Kickoff Conference on "Think20 (T20)" organized by Deutsches Institut fur Entwicklungspolitik and German Development Institute, Berlin, Germany on 30 November-2 December, 2016.

Participated as a panelist in a workshop on "Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the ASEAN Region: Responding to Food Security and Inclusiveness Concerns" organized by the International Food Policy Research institute (IFPRI) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines on 7-8 October, 2016.

Participated in the meeting on “India-Russia Think Tanks” , organised by the ICWA, Embassy of India, and Ministry of External Affairs, GoI in Moscow, Russia on 22-23 September 2016.

Participated in the 2nd meeting on “Joint Feasibility Study Group (JFSG) for entering into a FTA between the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU) and its Member States and the Republic of India”, organised by the Eurasian Economic Commission, Moscow, Russia on 19-20 September 2016.

Participated in a Discussion Meeting on “International Economic Issues” organised by the Australian High Commission in New Delhi on 12 September 2016

Participated as a leader of Indian delegation in a meeting of “Expert Group of Joint Feasibility Study Group (JFSG) for entering into an FTA between the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU) and Its Member States and the Republic of India”, organised by the Eurasian Economic Commission in Moscow, Russia on 1-3 September 2016.

FTA Consultation at RIS, 2016

(L-R) Dr. Ram Upendra Das, Professor, RIS; Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, DG, RIS; Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State  for Commerce & Industry; Ms. Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary, Minister of Commerce & Industry; at FTA Consultation at RIS, 2016

Made a presentation on “SAARC Trade in Services” in the 8th Meeting of Heads of SAARC Statistical Organizations (SAARCSTAT) organised by the SAARCSTAT and SAARC Secretariat in New Delhi on 30 August 2016.

Addressed the 62nd Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD) on “Regional Groupings: ASEAN and BRICS”, organised by the FSI, Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on 1 August 2016.

Launch of the Study on Enhancing  India- Myanmar Border Trade,2016

(L-R) Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, DG, RIS; Ms. Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & Industry; Dr. Ram Upendra Das, Professor, RIS at Launch of the Study on Enhancing  India- Myanmar Border Trade

Participated in a Brainstorming Session on “Initiatives in SAARC: Role of India”, organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, GoI in New Delhi on 21 July 2016

Participated in meetings on “Joint Feasibility Study Group (JFSG) Report” for entering into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU) organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India (GoI) in New Delhi on 19 July, 10 August, 29 August, 12 September, and 15 September 2016.

Delivered a lecture on “RTA, GATT Art. XXIV & Rules of Origin” at four day training Programme on ‘International Trade and Trade Agreements for Maruti Suzuki Limited’ organised by IIFT in New Delhi on 13 July 2016.

Launch of RIS South Asia Development Cooperation Report, 2015

(L-R) Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, DG, RIS; Amb Shyam Saran, Chairman, RIS, Hon'ble Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu; Prof. Deepak Nayyar, JNU; Dr. Ram Upendra Das, Professor RIS

Participated in G20 Think Tank Seminar on ‘A New Start of Global Governance, Openness and Cooperation’, organised by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), in Beijing, China on 29 June 2016.

Made a presentation in an Outreach Programme on ’India-Myanmar Border Trade’ organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, and the Ministry of Commerce, State Government of Manipur, in Imphal on 6 June 2016.

Participated in an academic exchange programme on ’China, India and ASEAN-The Strategic Trilateral Relations from the Perspective of Economy’ organised by Academy for World Watch, Shanghai in Bali, Indonesia on 28-30 May 2016.

Made presentation in a session on ‘Friends of Malaysia’ for Dato' Sri Mustapa Bin Mohamed, Minister for International Trade and Industry, organised by the High Commission of Malaysia, in New Delhi on 2 May 2016.

Delivered a Speech at the High Level Symposium on ‘Synergies along the Silk Road for Agenda 2030’ organised by Turkic World Educational and Scientific Cooperation Organisation (TWESCO) at the United Nations Headquarters, New York on 28 March 2016.

Presented a paper on ‘Asean Plus Six and Successful FTAs: Can India Propel Intra-Industry Trade Flows?’ in the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, Allied Social Science Associations, San Francisco, USA on 3-5 January 2016.