27-28 February 2018 Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

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speaker profile

H.E. Manuel A. González Sanz

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship
Costa Rica

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.

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