José Manuel Salazar-XirinachsRegional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, ILO

Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Lima, Peru, since 1 June 2015. Mr Salazar-Xirinachs holds a master’s degree in development economics and a doctorate in economics from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Costa Rica.

He joined the ILO in 2005 as Executive Director for the Employment Sector, based in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Assistant Director-General level. In that role, he was responsible for the Organization’s global work in the areas of employment policy, enterprise development, vocational training, labour market analysis, employment services, the transition from the informal to the formal economy, the linkages between trade and employment, the promotion of youth employment, and other related areas.

From 1998 to 2005 he was the Director of the Trade Unit of the Organization of American States, in Washington, DC; which served as the Technical Secretariat for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations, together with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. This unit also provided technical support on trade and competitiveness issues to the governments of countries in the Americas.

From 1997 to 1998, Mr Salazar-Xirinachs was Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, a period during which he held the presidency of the FTAA process. In 1995 he founded and ran until 1997 the Business Network for Hemispheric Integration. From 1991 to 1997 he was Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Federation of Private Entities of Central America and Panama (FEDEPRICAP). From 1988 to 1990 he was Executive President of the Costa Rican Development Corporation, where he launched the industrial development program of Costa Rica. Mr. Salazar-Xirinachs has published widely on economic growth and productive transformation policies, trade and competitiveness policy, employment and skills policies, and related issues.

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