Carmel Cahill is Irish and holds an M.A. degree in Economics from University College Cork and an M.Sc, in Statistics from Trinity College Dublin. She began her career in the Irish civil service, and spent time in the Departments of Agriculture and Finance, working mainly on agricultural policy issues. She joined the Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of the OECD in 1983 and continued with the newly created Trade and Agriculture Directorate, retiring in 2019, at which time she held the post of Deputy Director. Since retirement she has been engaged in teaching and in reflecting and writing on a range of agricultural and trade topics.