Grant Aldonas joined the IIEL in the fall of 2017 as Executive Director, bringing to the Institute an extensive leadership background in both government and the private sector.
Mr. Aldonas was confirmed as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade in 2001 and served in that capacity until 2005. There, he led a federal agency of 2,400 employees and 80 offices worldwide. In his capacity as Under Secretary of Commerce, Aldonas advised the President and Secretary of Commerce on a range of international economic issues, chaired the White House working group responsible for the administration’s successful pursuit of renewed trade negotiating authority, and served as the lead negotiator for the United States on issues involving trade remedies, international investment disciplines, competition policy and government procurement in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations. As Under Secretary, Grant also served as the Executive Secretary of the Cabinet-level President’s Export Council; Executive Director of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, which oversaw the export promotion programs of 22 federal agencies; and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Grant is also the founder and principal managing director of Split Rock International, a consultancy that advises global companies, governments, and international institutions on globalization, trade, and economic development. He has taught at Georgetown Law as an adjunct professor since 2000, served as an IIEL Advisory Board Member and Senior Fellow, and co-chaired the Institute’s flagship annual academy on international economic law. Grant also serves as a Senior Adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as a Commissioner with the London-based Legatum Institute’s Special Trade Commission, which was formed to develop options for the British government’s post-Brexit trade policy. Grant is a member of the Board of Directors of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and National Sawdust, a music venue in Brooklyn, New York, dedicated to providing a space for emerging artists to perform. Grant is, in addition, a guitarist and music producer whose work includes producing a well-received series of concerts exploring American blues and roots guitar.
Grant has served as Majority Chief International Trade Counsel with the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. In that capacity, he played an instrumental role in the passage of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, which extended trade preferences to Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Central America, and legislation normalizing U.S. trade relations with China. He also led a two-year oversight investigation of the U.S. Customs Service, resulting in enactment of the Customs Authorization Act of 1999. Additionally, Grant has served as Chairman of Transparency International – US, the American arm of the world’s leading non-governmental organization focused on eliminating corruption globally, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for International Private Enterprise, one of the four pillars of the National Endowment for Democracy. Grant has also been a U.S. diplomat and a partner at global law firms. Grant also served as counsel to the Commission on U.S.-Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Policy and the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He served as a consultant and adviser on law reform to a number of Eastern European and former Soviet Republics under the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Central and East European Law Initiative. He chaired the ABA’s Task Force on Multilateral Investment Agreements, as well as served as Vice Chair of the International Section’s Trade and Investment Committees.
Grant graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in International Relations and from the University of Minnesota Law School with a J.D.
He is the author of numerous articles and books, including, most recently –
- The Conflict Between the EU State Aid Rulings and WTO Rules, Tax Notes International (November 21, 2016);
- EU State Aid Investigations Demand an Aggressive Response, Tax Notes International (August 15, 2016) (with Itai Grinberg);
- Addressing Barriers to Digital Trade (2015) (with Usman Ahmed);
- Trade Policy in a Global Age (2013);
- Connecting People to Markets – Methodologies for Integrating Trade and Development Goals (2011);
- Globalization, Climate Change and Latin America – Development Implications (2010);
- Rethinking the Global Trading System – The Next Frontier (2009); and
- Globalization and the American Worker – Negotiating a New Social Contract (2009).