BGFA Secretary General


Dr. Ravi Ratnayake is an International Economist with over 30 years of experience in the areas of economic development, trade and investment and macroeconomics and worked as an economic advisor, UN Director, university professor, senior public official and researcher. During his UN career, he advised governments and private sector of more than 35 developing countries in Asia and Pacific and beyond in their efforts to develop their economies through economic growth, poverty reduction and business development. Most notably, he was the Director of Trade and Investment Division and worked as the Chief Economist of the United Nations ESCAP, the regional arm of UN for Asia and the Pacific which promotes economic and social progress of developing countries.

Dr Ratnayake has initiated a number regional cooperation mechanisms including the Asia- Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT), Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF), The Asia-Pacific Network of Experts of Experts of paperless Trade (UNNExT), Sustainable Business Network (SBN) and assisted the member countries to revitalize the Asia-Pacific Trade and Agreement (APTA) to a more dynamic and effective RTA.

He also worked as the Director of Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division and the Coordinator of the Poverty Theme Group of UNESCAP as well as the Coordinator of regional MDG programme. As the Director, Dr Ratnayake coordinated and supervised a number widely known publications on infrastructure financing, gaps in achieving MDGs, and a regional MDG Road Map for Asia and the Pacific.

He coordinated or supervised many research and technical cooperation projects and programmes relating to poverty reduction, macroeconomics, trade policy and facilitation, regional integration, trade and environment and private sector development, at UNESCAP. He has published many refereed journal articles, books and working papers and supervised the preparation of a large number of publications, including the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (annual) and the Asia-Pacific-Trade and Investment Report at the United Nations.

Prior to joining the United Nations, in the early 1980s, he was with the Ministry of Finance and Planning of Sri Lanka and worked as the Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Tariffs and Trade which guided the process of trade liberalization in Sri Lanka, based on extensive research on industry assistance. This research was used by the Government to rationalize the structure of tariffs for manufacturing industries. He was a Senior Lecturer in economics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand from 1991 to 1999 and visiting Professor of economics at Korea University.

Selected publications:


· Climate-Smart Trade and Investment in Asia and the Pacific: Towards a triple-win outcome (edited with other authors), United Nations, 2012
· Trade-led growth: a sound strategy for Asia (edited with other authors), 2011

· Trade Liberalization and Environment, World Scientific Press, 2000 (co-authored)

· Trade and the Environment: a New Zealand Perspective, Ashgate, 1999

Published papers

· “Impact of China’s Acession to the Bangkok Agreement on Intraregional Trade Flows”, South Asia Economic Journal, 2002
· “Monopoly Power, Efficiency and Manufacturing Profitability in a Small Open Economy: New Zealand Experience”, Korean Economic Review, 14, 2, 1999

· “Patterns and Causes of Industry Concentration in New Zealand”, International Journal of Industrial Organization, 17, pp 1041-1057, 1999

· Co-authored with B.Townsend, “Impact of Trade Agreements on trade Patterns: An Application of Gravity Model to New Zealand”, New Zealand Economic Papers, 33, 2, pp 27-38, 1999

· “Do Stringent Environmental Regulations Reduce International Competitiveness: Evidence from an Inter-Industry Analysis”, International Journal of the Economics of Business 5, 1, pp 77-96, 1998

· Co-authored with O.K Nayanananda, “The Production and Employment Spread Effects of Export-led Industrialization in Developing Countries”, Economic Internationale, Vol. LI, No 2, pp 259-278, 1998

· “Industry Concentration-Profitability Relationship and Competition Policy: Is there a Critical Concentration Level”, Applied Economics, 3, 1996

· “The Role of International Linkages in Determining Industry Concentration”, Singapore Economic Review, 38, pp 143-55, 1995

· “Revealed Comparative Advantage in Trade with New Zealand: The Case of Fiji”, Asian Journal of Economics and Social Studies, 13, 1995 (with E. Palac – McMiken and M. Mikic)

· “Determinants of International Trade: A Simultaneous Equations Model”, New Zealand Economic Papers, 28, pp 25-52, 1994

· “Factors Affecting Inter-industry variation of Foreign Ownership of Manufacturing Industry”, Applied Economics, Vol. 25, pp 653-659, 1993

· “Political Economy of Protection to Australian Manufacturing: Further Results”’, Economic Analysis and Policy, Vol. 23, pp 29-43, 1993

· And P. Athukorala, “Intra-industry Trade: The Australian Experience”, International Economic Journal, Vol. 6, pp 47-62, 1992

· And S. Jayasuriya, “Intra-industry Trade and Protection: Which Way Does the Causation Go”, Economic Letters, Vol. 35, pp 71-76, 1991

· “Patterns and Determinants of Export Specialization in Manufacturing”, Australian Journal of Management, Vol. 15, pp 339-362, 1990

· “Trade Policy and the Performance of the Manufacturing Sector: Sri Lanka”, The Developing Economies, Vol. 26, 1988, pp 12-33

Other Published Papers

· Ratnayake, R. “International Trade and the Structure, Conduct and Performance of Manufacturing: a Simultaneous Equations Model”, Discussion Papers, No. 21/90, Dept. of Economics, La Trobe University, 1990
Ratnayake, R. “Changing Patterns of Comparative Advantage of Selected Asia-Countries in New Zealand Market”, Working Papers in Economics, University of Auckland (with M. Mikic and E. Palac-Mcmiken)

· Ratnayake, R. “Political Economy of Tariff Reforms in Developing Countries: Sri Lankan Experience”, Working Papers in Economics, No. 113, Department of Economics, University of Auckland, (submitted to Review of Radical Political Economics)
Ratnayake, R. “Trade Reforms and Performance of an African Developing Country: The Zimbabwe’s Experience”, Department of Economics, Working Papers in Economics, University of Auckland, 1994

· Ratnayake, R. “Earning Profile and the Characteristics of New Zealand’s Employed Labour Force by Industry, Skills, Age and Employment Status”, Working Papers in Economics, University of Auckland, 1995 (with D. Bandyopadhyay)

· Ratnayake, R. “Trade and Competition Policies and Industrialization: Sri Lankan Experience”, Working Papers in Economics, University of Auckland, (submitted to the Indian Economic Journal)

· Ratnayake, R and M. Wydeveld, “The Multinational Corporation and the Environment: Reviewing and Testing the Pollution Haven Hypothesis”, Working Papers in Economics, University of Auckland, (a revised version is considered by the Review of International Economics)

· Ratnayake, R, “External Debt and Economic Growth in the South Pacific: a Case Study of Fiji”, Working Papers in Economics, University of Auckland (withT.K Jayaraman of Asian Development Bank)

· Ratnayake, R and Woo-Young Kim, “Economic Growth and the Environment in South Korea”, Working Papers in Economics, University of Auckland

· Ratnayake, R and M. Wydeveld, “Foreign Direct Investment and the Environmental Regulatory Regimes of the APEC Countries”, Working Papers in Economics, University of Auckland (forthcoming)

· Ratnayake, R. “Determinants of International Trade in Manufactures”, Newsletter, International Economics Group, No. 3, May 1993

· Ratnayake, R. “Revealed Comparative Advantage of Selected Asia-Pacific Countries in Trade with New Zealand”, paper presented at NZAE Winter Conference, August, 1994 (with E. Palac-McMiken and M. Mikic)

Technical reports

· Trade and Environment in Sri Lanka: Issues and Evidence, Institute of Policy
Studies, Sri Lanka, 1998

· Industrial Sector Policy Review: Sri Lanka (with A.G Cuthbertson and associates)

· Report on “Fiji’s Export Promotion in New Zealand”, 1994 (with E. Palac- McMiken and M. Mikic)

· Report on “Trade Liberalization and Assistance to Manufacturing Industries
In Zimbabwe”

· Reports of Presidential Commission on Trade and Tariff (Studies of Effective Protection to Sri Lankan Manufacturing Industry), Colombo, Sri Lanka, reports of 1985, 1991 and 1994

Click here to contact Dr. Ratnayake.