WITA Series on Worker-Centric & Inclusive Trade: Why Do We Trade?




What is the national interest in trade? Is it economic growth? National and international stability? Upward mobility for workers (and which workers)? And what are the terms of trade to benefit producers, consumers, and shareholders?

On April 8, 2021, WITA hosted a compelling conversation of what trade means for the United States, and how that can be manifest in a worker-centric and inclusive trade policy.


Welcome: 11:00 AM (US/Eastern)
  • Kenneth I. Levinson, Executive Director, Washington International Trade Association
Remarks and Panelist Discussion: 11:05 AM
  • Grant Aldonas, Split Rock International, and former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade
  • Beth Baltzan, Founder, American Phoenix Trade Advisory Service and formerly with USTR and the House Ways & Means Committee
  • Daniel J. Ikenson, Director of Policy Research, NDP | Analytics
  • Sarah Pray, Director of Advocacy for Economic Governance, Economic Justice Programme of the Open Society Foundations
  • Moderator: David J. Lynch, Global Economics Correspondent, The Washington Post 
Followed by:
  • Q & A with Audience Moderated by Ken – Webinar attendees are encouraged to use the Q&A function on the Zoom app to submit their questions in real time.


Grant Aldonas is a senior advisor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he performs research and writing on international economic issues and grand strategy. Grant Aldonas is the principal managing director of Split Rock International, a Washington, D.C.-based trade and investment consulting firm he founded in 2006. Here, Mr. Aldonas was the Founder and chief executive of an international consultancy offering strategic advice to major corporations, governments and non-governmental organizations.
Between 2017 and 2019, Mr. Aldonas was an executive director for the Institute for International Economic Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Here he oversaw operations of the institute founded by Professor John Jackson and served as chairman of the Institute’s annual Global Trade Academy focused on the WTO and broader issues of international economic law.
From 2005-2006 Grant Aldonas was a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld where he Established a broad-based practice advising U.S. and foreign corporations on trade, tax, investment, anti-corruption initiatives and other aspects of international law. Also, between 2005 and 2006, Mr. Aldonas was a Chairman of the Board for Transparency International – United States, where he oversaw the development of strategy and operations for the U.S. arm of the leading anti-corruption organization globally.
Prior to launching Split Rock, Mr. Aldonas had a distinguished career in law, business, and government focusing on international trade and investment. He was, from 2001-2005, the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. In the U.S. Department of Commerce, Mr. Aldonas oversaw the operations of a 2,400-person federal agency with offices in 84 countries: responsible for international negotiations, trade promotion and the administration of U.S. trade law. Grant Aldonas also served as Executive Secretary of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade; Executive Director, President’s Export Council; Member, Board of Directors, Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and Executive Secretary, U.S. Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee.
Before assuming his position as Under Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Aldonas served as Chief International Trade Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, the top trade policy position in Congress. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, Congress enacted several historic trade bills, including the Trade and Development Act of 2000 and legislation normalizing trade relations with China following its accession to the World Trade Organization.
Mr. Aldonas was a partner with Miller & Chevalier, a Washington, D.C. law firm, prior to joining the Finance Committee. He built a broad-based practice advising many of the world’s leading corporations on international trade, investment, government contracts, taxation and international litigation. While in private practice, Mr. Aldonas also served, in 1995, as Counsel to the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform and, in 1996, as an Adviser to the Commission on U.S.-Pacific Trade and Investment. He was also a leader in the American Bar Association’s Section of International Practice, serving as the Chair of the ABA’s Task Force on Multilateral Investment Agreements and as Vice Chair of its Committees on Trade and Foreign Investment. 
Mr. Aldonas began his career as a diplomat, serving in the U.S. Foreign Service, from 1980-1984, and as a trade negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, from 1984-1985. He 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.
Beth Baltzan is a trade lawyer in private practice as well as a fellow at the Open Markets Institute.
Beth served as Democratic Counsel to the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee from 2012 to 2016, where she worked on preferences for developing countries, Trade Adjustment Assistance, customs, and TPP, TTIP, and TISA. She had previously served as Associate General Counsel in the Office of the United States Trade Representative from 2003 to 2009. She returned to USTR in 2016 to assist the Obama Administration with the preparation of a WTO dispute against China.
Between 2009 and 2012, she worked for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and was detailed to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where she investigated banks. 
Beth has testified before both the House and the Senate. She has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell and Fox Business’ Making Money with Charles Payne and has been published in the L.A. Times, Washington Monthly, Foreign Policy, Barron’s, and Newsweek. In October 2020, she published a model trade agreement, designed to promote inclusive prosperity and economic integration among like-minded countries.
Graduating from Stanford University in 1991, she earned her JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 1996. 
She is a member of the NAFTA trade remedies dispute settlement roster.
Daniel Ikenson is an economist and renowned international trade expert who has spent over 30 years analyzing, communicating, and influencing the formulation of U.S. and global trade policy. Dan joins ndp | analytics after nine years as director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Trade Policy Studies, where he led a team of lawyers, economists, and political scientists conducting research on all manner of trade policy. On subjects spanning from free trade agreements to international investment treaties, trade laws to customs procedures, digital trade to the manufacturing economy, Dan has written dozens of policy papers, given congressional testimony, submitted statements and comments on proposed regulations to federal and state agencies, appeared on national news programs, and published scores of op-eds and articles in prominent media outlets.
Prior to joining the Cato Institute in 2000, Dan was director of international trade planning for an international accounting and business advisory firm. In 1997 he cofounded an international trade consulting firm in Washington, and from 1990 to 1997, Dan was a trade policy analyst at international trade law practices. In addition to his many studies and articles, Dan is coauthor of the book Antidumping Exposed: The Devilish Details of Unfair Trade Law.
He earned an M.A. in economics from George Washington University.
Sarah Pray is the Director of Advocacy for OSF’s Economic Justice Program. Prior, Sarah was a Program Officer focusing on trade and natural resource governance and the Senior Policy Analyst for Africa, focused on advocacy to the Washington D.C. policymaker community on a diverse range of issues, including elections, human rights, rule of law and corruption. Since 2010, Sarah has been a lecturer at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs teaching graduate skills courses on advocacy.
Prior to joining OSF, Sarah was the director of the Publish What You Pay United States coalition, advocating for transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining industries. Sarah has also worked at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights as a human rights attorney promoting corporate responsibility and government accountability around the extraction of oil in Chad. 
Sarah serves on the Board of Directors of EG Justice, a human rights organization focusing on Equatorial Guinea. She received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
David J. Lynch joined The Washington Post in November 2017 from the Financial Times, where he covered white-collar crime. He was previously the cybersecurity editor at Politico and a senior writer with Bloomberg News, focusing on the intersection of politics and economics.
Earlier, he followed the global economy for USA Today, where he was the founding bureau chief in both London and Beijing. He covered the wars in Kosovo and Iraq, the latter as an embedded reporter with the U.S. Marines, and was the paper’s first recipient of a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University.
He has reported from more than 60 countries.
Kenneth Levinson is the Executive Director of the Washington International Trade Association (WITA). WITA is Washington’s largest non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum in the U.S. capital for the open and robust discussion of international trade policy and economic issues. WITA has over 4,000 members, and more than 170 corporate sponsors and group memberships.
Previously, Ken served as Senior Director for Global Government Affairs for AstraZeneca. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Ken served as Senior Vice President and COO at the Washington, DC consulting firm of Fontheim International. Ken started his career on the staff of U.S. Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, where he served as the Senator’s chief advisor for international trade, tax, foreign policy, and national security.
Ken received a Master’s degree in European History from New York University after doing his undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst. Ken also spent a year studying at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Ken and his wife, the Reverend Donna Marsh, live in Bethesda, MD, with their two daughters.