Muñoz, José Antonio

José Antonio is a pre-eminent corporate lawyer with particular experience in foreign direct investment. He advises on corporate and tax structures, acting for both US and foreign corporate interests, and liaises with government entities. He often leads projects throughout Central America by coordinating teams from within his firm’s regional offices. In 2007 he was recognized as the leading specialist in corporate governance in Central America by Who’s Who Legal. Through his work as a lawyer during the last two decades, José Antonio Muñoz has established himself and his firm as top-tier providers of legal services for foreign investors, focusing especially on U.S. and foreign corporate interests. Mr. Muñoz has built up an excellent reputation as a transactional and project finance attorney, working as local counsel with multilateral institutions such as the IIC and IFC in important agribusiness and tourism projects. José Antonio has also counselled international banks and conglomerates participating in infrastructure projects in relevant corporate, tax and government procurement legal issues. He has also run a very successful practice as outside local corporate counsel for several major U.S. companies with foreign investment in Costa Rica. Chambers and Partners praises him as a “deal doer” with the “capacity to look at the greater picture.” In addition to his experience as a practicing attorney in the private sector, Mr. Muñoz has significant experience in the public sector, including work as a member of the Board of Directors of PROCOMER, the Agency for the Promotion of International Trade of the Costa Rican Government (1998 to 2002). He gained International Trade Law experience as practicing attorney, diplomatic envoy for Costa Rica and public servant to Costa Rica. He has participated in Costa Rica’s GATT accession; as counsel to Costa Rican exporters of fresh cut flowers to the US in a dumping/countervailing duties case in the US; Caribbean Basin Initiative II (CBI II) negotiations in Washington, DC; defending Costa Rica in General System of Preferences (GSP) petitions before the US Trade Representative in Washington, DC; and advisor on trade matters in exports within and outside Central America. He was also a Senior Adviser in International Trade and Relations with International Agencies for the Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica (1990-1992); Adviser in International Law to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica (1998 to 2002); Founding Member and Senior Counsel to Fundación para la Defensa del Comercio Exterior (1986-1990); Member of the Private Sector Delegation to the Official Committee for Costa Rica’s Accession to GATT (1988); Member of the Advisory Council to the Private Sector of the Minister of International Trade (1988-1992); and Attorney at the Legal Department, RECOPE- Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo (1978-1981). Mr. Muñoz was Minister, Consul General and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, D.C. (1992-1994), where he served as Charge d’Affaires, a.i. in 1994. He is a Licenciado en Derecho, graduated from the Law School at the University of Costa Rica in 1978, and he obtained a Master’s Degree in Common Law Studies from Georgetown University Law Center as a Fulbright Scholar. A writer on current legal and economic matters in Central America, José Antonio published for several years a popular weekly column in Costa Rica’s “La República.” José Antonio Muñoz has been very active in academic and professional membership. He has served in the Advisory Board for Georgetown University’s Law School of the Americas Program-Law CASA (1997 to date); and of the Law Practice Management Core Group (2003 to date), Nominating Committee (2004), and the Multilingual/Multicultural Task Force (2001-2002) of the Section of Law Practice Management, ABA - American Bar Association (2004). A member of the ABA’s Section of International Law, José Antonio co-hosted an ILEX trip to Central America and has been a speaker in the Section’s Pathways to International Law Careers and Law Practice Management Programs. He is also founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Foundation Costa Rica (1998 to date). Mr. Muñoz and his law firm are part of the Interlaw network (an independent association of law firms in 116 cities worldwide) and was recognized as Interlawyer of the Year in 2002. He is fluent in Spanish, English and has knowledge of Italian and French.