27-28 February 2018 Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

speaker profile

H.E. Manuel A. González Sanz

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Republic of Costa Rica

Minister Of Foreign Trade Of Costa Rica                           Oct. 2004 - May 2006

Led, managed, defined and executed external trade and investment policies of the Republic of Costa Rica. Implemented free trade agreements ratified by the country.  Led political efforts seeking approval of DR-CAFTA with the United States of America.  Conducted multilateral trade negotiations in the context of the World Trade Organization.  Member of the Economic Council of the Costa Rican Government. Collaborated in the definition of sensitive legislation regarding the opening for competition of the insurance and telecommunications markets and  modernization of the telecommunications and energy state-owned institutions. Concluded negotiations with the Inter-American Development Bank for the financing of the Country’s Competitiveness Program.  Active member of  WTO’s Director General Consultative Group, a group of 25 Trade Ministers out of the 150 members. Chaired  Board of Directors of Procomer, Costa Rica’s External Trade Promotion Agency.

Important achievements include:  1) Foreign Direct Investments reached the second highest amount in Costa Rica’s history, 2) created the Investments Division within the Ministry which in 4 months located and approved new investments in the amount of $80 million, 3)  promoted, discussed and followed of DR-CAFTA with Congress and Civil Society, 4) coordinated and prepared projects, programs and laws related to the implementation of DR-CAFTA and its complementary agenda, 5) promoted and obtained approval by Congress of the Free Trade Agreement with the Caricom and its implementation, 6) defended Costa Rica’s interests related to market access to the European Union  winning two arbitrations at the WTO, 7) started and completed the evaluation stage with the EU to launch negotiations of an Association Agreement with Central America, 8) achieved inclusion of Costa Rica to the EU in its Special Generalized Preferences Program, SGP+, 9) strengthened the  value chain programs through the program Costa Rica Provee, 10) promoted Costa Rica’s application to become a full member of the Asian-Pacific Economic Community, APEC, 11) achieved the opening in coordination with the Ministry of Economy of five regional centers to support the small and medium exporting enterprises, 12) established the first  trade promotion office in Europe, 13) launched the exporting program for Costa Rica 2010-2015, 14)  decided the incorporation of Costa Rica as a full member of  the  Advisory Center on WTO Law, Geneva, 15) participated actively on WTO’s Doha Round negotiations, 16) achieved enactment of several regulations to improve the business and investment climate in Costa Rica, 17) approved Code of Conduct for Costa Rica’s commercial negotiators.

Served as President  Pro-tempore of the Central American Economic Integration System, SIECA, taking the regional integration further towards the creation of a Customs Union. Finished the evaluation and preparation phase for the launching of negotiations of the Association Agreement  between the European Union and Central America in the Heads of State Summit in Vienna, May, 2006.  Invited panelist on Latin American issues to the World Economic Forum and first Costa Rican Government Cabinet Member to be invited to this event. Also participated as panelist in the World Economic Forum on Latin America.

Represented the Costa Rica’s President, in several international meetings and summits.

Selected by the  Chamber of Exporters of Costa Rica, CADEXCO, as the best public servant of the year 2005 for contributions to the export sector. Costa Rican exports increased 11.50% in 2005 reaching the highest historical level. Exports increased 22% during the first trimester of 2006.

Ambassador to the United Nations and its Specialized Organizations Geneva, Switzerland.                                                                               2002 - 2004

Headed Costa Rica’s delegations to meetings, assemblies and working groups in Geneva, Switzerland, including among other international organizations, the following: International Labor Organization, International Migrants Organization, World Health Organization, Conference on Disarmament, World Intellectual Property Organization, International Telecommunications Union, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, World Meteorology Organization, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Headed  delegation and participated actively in the 59th and 60th Commission on Human Rights, CHR, in 2003 and 2004. Organized several parallel events and meetings with regional groups, United Nations Organizations and non-governmental organizations.  Launched the United Nations World Program for Education on Human Rights.

Achieved appointments of Costa Rican citizens to the United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture, a member of  the U.N. Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and a U.N. Reporter on the Right to Education.

Participated actively on several think-tank groups on the reform of the U.N. and its CHR.  The non-governmental organization, Human Rights Watch, publicly recognized my leadership and the work of my team during the CHR’s sessions of 2003 and 2004.

Represented Costa Rica’s President to the Information Society World Summit in 2003 and prepared the necessary documents.

Coordinated the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries, GRULAC, on Human Rights issues, 2003. Coordinated for GRULAC all matters related to the World Intellectual Property Organization during the second semester of 2003.  Seated on the Geneva Diplomatic Committee which deals with relationships with the Host Country.

Vice-chaired the 60th United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 2004, which represented the appointment of a Costa Rican in such a position during the last 40 years.

Member of Costa Rica Diplomatic Delegation to the High Level Segment of the United Nations General Assembly, New York 2002 and 2003.

Headed Costa Rica’s Delegation to the Red Cross International Committee Conference and the International Foundation of the Red Cross, 2003.

Other important achievements include: 1) participated actively in the final adoption of a Protocol to the U.N. Convention on Torture, 2)  presented and defended the adoption of several resolutions on topics related to the right to education, human rights and the environment, situation of human rights in several countries and trafficking of women.

Special Advisor to the Vice President of Costa Rica                      1992 - 1994

Coordinated relations with Multilateral Financial Institutions and cooperation agencies, the sale of stock of state-owned companies such as Cempasa (cement) and Fertica (fertilizers).

Managed relationships with the Agency of International Development of the Government of the United States of America. Coordinated issues of the Government’s Economic Council with Cabinet Members and Special Advisors to the President.


FACIO & CAÑAS LAW FIRM:                                                 1987-

Partner of Facio & Cañas, one of the largest and oldest law firm in Central America. Legal practice  concentrated on foreign investments, financial and corporate law with emphasis on complex and cross-border transactions on banking, securities, mergers and acquisitions and trade. Litigated extensively in the Costa Rican courts. Experienced in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

President of the Firm’s Board of Directors, 2011-2012

Member of the Firm’s Board of Directors, 1993 – 1994, 1999 – 2002, 2006- present

Member of the Firm’s Executive Committee, 1993 - 1994

Chaired the Firm’s Budget and Financial Committee, 1999 - 2002.

Co-chaired the Firm’s representation to the Ibero-American Lawyers Club, 1999 - 2002. Chair  2006-2012.

Selected representations

Lead Local Legal Counsel for Securities Offering, 1997-1998

Provided legal counseling to the Government of Costa Rica, Ministry of Finance and Central Bank, for its sovereign bond offering ($200MM) of April 1998 that marked the return of the country to the international financial markets after the 80’s external debt crisis.

Boards of Directors and Councils

Cabinet Member of the Government of Costa Rica, 2004-2006

Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Procomer (Costa Rica’s Trade Promotion Agency), 2004-2006

Member of the Government’s Economic Council, 2004-2006

Member of the Advisory Council for Small and Medium Enterprises, 2004-2006

Member of the National Council on Competitiveness, 2004-2006

Chairperson of the Consultative Council on External Trade 2004-2006

Member of the National Commission for Quality, 2004-2006

Member of the National Commission for Policies Evaluation on Foreign Trade and Investments, 2004-2006

Active participant of the Emerging Markets Forum on Latin America (Washington D.C), 2007-

Served as Board of Directors member for Banco Internacional de Costa Rica, BICSA, 1999-2002, an international bank with offices in Miami, Panama and Costa Rica and its affiliates: BICSA Valores, stockbrokerage house, BICSA Card, credit card, Inmobiliaria BICSA, real estate. Chaired BICSA’s Employees Pension Fund and Board Member to BICSA’s Money Laundering Prevention Committee.

Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters (CADEXCO) and other posts, 2006-2014.

Fellow Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington D.C. 2008-

University of Costa Rica                                                                 1990-1996

Taught Corporate Law and Securities at both the Law and Business Schools. Invited Professor to the International Commercial Law Graduate Program of the Law School on several occasions.


Wrote articles on financial and legal issues for newspapers and economic magazines, often interviewed and consulted on international trade and economic issues.

Costa Rican Review on Foreign Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 2004, “Costa Rica’s participation in the United Nations Commission on  Human Rights”.

Bar Admissions

Costa Rican Bar Association, 1990


Columbia University Law School, New York, NY, LL.M, 1995.

University of Costa Rica Law School, San Jose, Costa Rica, Licenciatura, equivalent to J.D., 1989; Notary Public degree, 1989; Bachelor in Law, 1988.

National University of San Diego, Costa Rica, Diploma on Stock Exchange Regulations, 1992.


Listed by  “Who’s Who Legal”.

Best Public Servant of the Year, Chamber of Exporters, Costa Rica, 2005

Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Honors, Columbia University Law School, 1995

Honorary Thesis Award, University of Costa Rica, 1990

University of Costa Rica Academic Merit Scholarship and Honor Award Student for every year.

Fulbright Scholar, Government of the United States of America 1994-1995.

Named as one of Latin America’s leading trade lawyer by Latin Lawyer Magazine, volume 5, issue 8, 2006.


Speak, read, and write fluent English and Spanish

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