Gustavo Zanabria – United Nations Economic Council on Latin America and the Caribbean

Mr. Gustavo Zanabria is a graduate student in the department of Public Administration and International Affairs.  He will be on campus in Syracuse during the fall semester of 2014.

It was a great experience to complete a twelve-week internship at Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile. This international organization is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations.  It was founded with the purpose of contributing to the economic development of Latin America. The commission coordinates actions directed towards this objective, including promoting the region´s social development and reinforcing economic ties among other nations of the world.Specifically, I had the opportunity to work in the Division of International Trade and Integration of ECLAC where I worked on diverse research projects related to the economic integration process in Latin America and the Caribbean. These projects gave me a comprehensive view of the office’s operations and the international trade mission of ECLAC in Latin America.

One of the most interesting projects was related with the elaboration of “Latin America and the Caribbean in the World Economy 2014” which is the main publication of this division.  This research paper demonstrates how the structure of regional economic integration in Latin America and the Caribbean changes annually. One of the main findings of this study is that there are both exogenous and endogenous factors affecting the region’s economic integration process. Exogenous factors include characteristics such as geography, market size and resource endowment. Endogenous factors are those that can be influenced by the action of public or private bodies —industrial or trade policy, for instance.

However, there are several areas where the governments of the region can cooperate towards promoting multi-country production networks. For example: i) development of enabling infrastructure (roads, telecommunications, broadband, ports and others), ii) harmonization or mutual recognition of technical/sanitary standards, iii) easing regulations on population mobility, iv) joint work in trade facilitation, and v) exploring the coordination of national industrial policies.

My experience at Division of International Trade and Integration helped me to improve my technical writing ability and research skills. In addition, I deepened my knowledge in issues surrounding international trade and integration, which will enhance future professional opportunities in this arena. Following my graduation from the Maxwell school, I intend to work for an international organization like the United Nations. As such, my experience at ECLAC has provided valuable insight and skill building for my career trajectory.