Arun Venkataraman

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Arun Venkataraman has more than 15 years of experience advising officials at the highest levels of government on trade and economic policy. Working with a wide range of US government agencies, foreign governments, trade associations, and international organizations, Arun has helped industries in diverse sectors resolve economic regulatory challenges in countries around the world.

Arun’s extensive experience across all facets of trade policy-making – domestic and international, negotiation and litigation, legislation and executive action – underpins the unique perspective and creative solutions he offers clients.

Arun previously served in various high-level positions in the Office of the US Trade Representative and the US Department of Commerce and as a Legal Officer in the WTO. As the first ever Director of Policy at the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, Arun helped shape the US government’s responses to critical challenges faced by firms in the US and in markets around the world, including China and India.

These challenges included excess capacity in the global steel and aluminum industries; online piracy and counterfeiting; improper application of competition laws; unjustified limitations on data flows; and national security-based restrictions on goods, services and technology. In this role Arun also led the International Trade Administration’s efforts to conclude negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and secure passage of Trade Promotion Authority legislation.

Prior to serving at the Department of Commerce, Arun spent several years in policy and legal roles at the Office of the US Trade Representative. Arun led the development and implementation of US-India trade policy as the Director for India, working on issues relating to agricultural trade, intellectual property, visas, and cybersecurity and technology policy.

Arun also served as a Legal Officer for the Appellate Body Secretariat of the WTO, advising the seven Members of the Appellate Body on issues raised in appeals of trade disputes between countries. As Associate General Counsel, Arun represented the United States in litigation before the WTO and in WTO and free trade agreement negotiations, including as a lead negotiator on competition and State-owned enterprises for the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

In this capacity, Arun provided counsel on a number of WTO agreements, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) Agreement, and the Enabling Clause, as well as on broader questions of treaty interpretation and public international law.

Previous Employment:

  • Director of Policy, International Trade Administration, US Department of Commerce (2014-2017)
  • Director for India, Office of the US Trade Representative (2010-2014)
  • Associate General Counsel, Office of the US Trade Representative (2006-2010)
  • Legal Officer, Appellate Body Secretariat, WTO (2002-2006)


  • J.D., Columbia Law School, 1999
  • M.A., The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 1999
  • B.A., Tufts University, 1995, magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa


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Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Steuart Tower, 1 Market St #1800, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
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