Grant D. Aldonas
Grant D. Aldonas is the principal managing director of Split Rock International, a Washington, DC-based trade and investment consulting firm. Aldonas also holds the William H. Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
In addition to his work with Split Rock and CSIS, Aldonas serves as chairman of the board of Synapse, a nonprofit microfinance entity, and as a member of the board of directors of the Center for International Private Enterprise and the Global Fairness Initiative. Aldonas also serves as an adjunct professor of law and member of the board of directors of the Institute for International Economic Law at Georgetown University’s Law Center.
Prior to launching Split Rock and joining CSIS, Aldonas had a distinguished career in law, business, and international economic policy. He began his career in 1980 as a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department and served as a trade negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative from 1984 to 1985 before entering the private practice of law.
As a partner for over a decade with Miller & Chevalier in Washington, Aldonas built a broad-based, multimillion dollar international practice focusing on international trade, investment, government contracts, taxation, and international dispute settlement. While in private practice, Aldonas also served as counsel to the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform in 1995 and as an adviser to the Commission on U.S.-Pacific Trade and Investment in 1996. He was appointed chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Multilateral Investment Agreements and served as vice chair of the ABA Section of International Law and Practice’s Committees on Trade and Foreign Investment.
In 1997, Aldonas left private practice to assume the role of chief international trade counsel to the Senate Finance Committee. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, Congress enacted several historic trade bills, including the Trade and Development Act of 2000 and the grant of permanent normal trade relations to China following its accession to the World Trade Organization.
Aldonas’s tenure with the Finance Committee ended in 2001 when he was asked by President George W. Bush to serve as the Commerce Department’s under secretary for international trade. In that role, Aldonas served from 2001 to 2005 as one of the president’s principal advisers on international economic policy and managed a federal agency of 2,400 employees with offices in 80 countries around the world and a budget of $350 million. Aldonas also served as a member of the board of directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and as executive director of the President’s Export Council.
Upon leaving the Bush administration in 2005 and prior to launching Split Rock, Aldonas resumed the private practice of law as a partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. While practicing law, Aldonas also served as chairman of the board of the U.S. arm of Transparency International, the leading organization dedicated to fighting corruption and bribery worldwide.
Aldonas is a native of Minnesota and received his B.A. in international relations in 1975 and his J.D. in 1979 from the University of Minnesota. He is married with three children.
Recent Events and Presentations
Restricting Data Flows: When Is It Legitimate Policy, and When Is It Unjustified Protectionism?
No one disputes that digital trade is an essential component of the 21st century economy, however, so it is critical to establish a clearer definition of just what constitutes unwarranted protectionism and under what circumstances governments are justified in limiting cross-border data flows. Please join ITIF for a debate between ITIF President Rob Atkinson and George Washington University Professor Susan Aaronson.
Trade Promotion Authority: Do We Need a New Approach?
Join ITIF for a conversation with an expert panel about the evolution of the TPA.
Gold-Standard or WTO-Lite?: Shaping the Trans-Pacific Partnership
ITIF and an all-star panel discuss how the United States should craft the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a model trade agreement for the 21st century.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Innovation Policy
ITIF presents the report “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (and the Self destructive) of Innovation Policy: A Policy Maker’s Guide to Crafting Effective Innovation Policy.”