Institute for International Economic Policy

The IIEP Global Economic Governance in the 21st Century Initiative

Project on Trade Agreements and Internet Governance

The Project on Trade Agreements and Internet Governance (TAIG) examines how the U.S., EU, and Canada use trade agreements to govern the Internet and to advance Internet freedom/stability. This research is funded by the John and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and an anonymous donor.

The project is part of the Institute for International Economic Policy in the Elliott School for International Affairs at the George Washington University.

Please see our blog for news and commentary:

Seminars on Internet Governance and Digital Trade Issues

IIEP and the Internet Society of Washington DC are sponsoring a series of seminars on Internet governance and digital trade issues. These seminars are open to the public and free. The first seminar focused on a new report on digital trade prepared by the US International Trade Commission. We are grateful to ICANN, the Progressive Policy Institute, and an anonymous donor for their support of these seminars.

New Policy Brief Oct 2014:
Why Trade Agreements are Not Setting Information Free
In this brief, Dr. Susan Aaronson examines how the Snowden implications and other recent developments affect information flows. She also makes recommendations for trade policymakers on the free flow of information.


Upcoming Events

Feb. 12, 2015 (Noon - 2 pm) Right to be Forgotten

Mar. 25, 2015 (Noon - 2 pm ) National Security and Cyber Surveillance Upcoming Events


Past Events

Seminar on Human Rights and Internet Governance

Human Rights, Accountability and Internet Governance: A Panel Discussion

November 17, 2014, 12:30 - 2:00pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St NW, The Lindner Commons, 6th floor

Change is coming to Internet governance. But change is scary. It involves compromises, and may yield a less accountable approach. Moreover, the US Government wants any changes to protect human rights, Internet openness and stability, and the multistakeholder model. This free luncheon seminar considers how recent proposed changes in Internet governance will affect human rights online and how Internet governance institutions and processes might be made more accountable to netizens.

The Internet Governance Forum USA 2014

July 16, 2014, 8:30 am - 7:00 pm
Location: Marvin Center, 800 21st Street NW, Grandball Room, 3rd Floor

The IGF-USA provides a domestic forum in the US for civil society, government, technologists, research scientists, the media, industry and academia, and other interested communities to engage in dialogue about development of best practices for multistakeholder governance and help move Internet policy forward.

IGF-USA 2014 seeks to help establish creative partnerships and to build a US based coalition to generate momentum around priority Internet governance issues and practices under consideration.

Schedule of event is available here.

Live streaming of event is available here.


Scenarios for the Future of Internet Governance

April 30, 2013

Agenda and Bios available here.

Panel 1: What is the IANA Function? What led to the US decision to reduce its role in IANA? What are the risks and opportunities associated with this fundamental change?

Fiona Alexander - Office of International Affairs, NTIA, US Department of Commerce

Pat Kane - Senior Vice President, Naming and Directory Services, Verisign

Richard Jimmerson - Chief Information Officer, ARIN

Steve DelBianco - Executive Director, NetChoice

Milton Mueller - Professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies

Moderator - Tim Lordan - Executive Director, Internet Education Foundation


Panel 2: Possible scenarios for the future of the IANA functions - what are the implications for Internet governance?

Christopher Mondini - VP, Stakeholder Engagement North America & Global Business Engagement, ICANN

Raquel Gatto - Chapter Development Manager, the Americas, ISOC

Beatrice Covassi - First Counsellor, Digital Economy, EU Delegation to the United States

Derrick Cogburn - Associate Professor of International Relations at the School of International Service at American University

Becky Burr - Deputy General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at NeuStar, Inc.

Moderator - Roger Cochetti - Principal at RJC Associates


Who is Bashing Whom: China, Cyber-Attack, Democracy, and Retaliation

March 22, 2013

View the event summary here.


December 6, 2012

TAIG hosted a free conference, "Can Trade Policies and Agreements Advance Internet Freedom," providing a wide range of insight into the potential and pitfalls of trade policy to regulate the Internet. Panels included: views from the US, EU, and Canada; a discussion of privacy, intellectual property rights, and Internet freedom; and new ideas to promote trade and Internet freedom. Lee Hibbard from the Council of Europe offered "A Human Rights Perspective", and Andrew McLaughlin of betaworks gave the luncheon keynote address on "The Future of Internet Freedom". The full agenda is here . The conference benefited from the support of the John and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Software and Information Industry Association, the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at GWU, the National War College and the Minvera Initiative.

Our policy brief, "Can Trade Policy Set Information Free? Trade Agreements, Internet Governance, and Internet Freedom" is here .

Dr. Aaronson's slides are embedded below (requires Flash).


We will post links to any reporting from the conference on our blog,, as they become available.


September 22, 2012

TAIG hosted a panel discussion titled "Can Trade Agreements Facilitate the Free Flow of Information: The Trans-Pacific Partnership as a Case Study" with support from the John and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association. A synopsis of the event is available here.



An annotated bibliography of relevant documents and links is available here.

As our work progresses, we will post country summaries of Internet regulation and trade policy for the E.U, U.S., and Canada.



Susan Ariel Aaronson, Director

Susan Ariel Aaronson is Associate Research Professor at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs and the Minerva Research Fellow Faculty Chair (Minerva Chair) at the National War College. Susan is the author of 6 books and numerous articles on trade, human rights, corruption and development issues. She received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

K. Daniel Wang, Assistant Director


Upcoming Events

November 21 Friday

Please contact for more information.