I have today announced the appointment of Mr Diego L. Payssé as Australia's
Honorary Consul in Montevideo, with jurisdiction throughout Uruguay. Mr
Payssé is a Uruguayan citizen who works as a consultant and property
manager in the agricultural sector.
The Australian Consulate in Montevideo was established in 1992, and has
provided much assistance to Australian visitors to Uruguay. The Consulate
is also able to provide assistance to Australian companies seeking to do
business in the region.
Since 1985, Uruguay has pursued open foreign and trade policies and has
developed a profile in multilateral institutions which belies its small
size. Australian and Uruguayan foreign and trade policy interests coincide
in several key areas, and we have cooperative relations across a range of
multilateral forums. One of the most tangible is the importance of agriculture
to both economies. Consequently Australia and Uruguay worked closely in
the Cairns Group to ensure fairer international trade in agricultural products
as part of the Uruguay Round. Uruguay is a strong supporter of the United
Nations and has participated in international peacekeeping, including Cambodia.
Concerns about the environment and sustainable development have become major
issues domestically and internationally. Australia and Uruguay work together
on international environment issues through membership of the Valdivia Group,
a coalition of temperate southern hemisphere countries which aims to advance
common interests in international environmental forums.
Trade and investment between Australia and Uruguay has been modest. In 1995
Australia's exports totalled AUD 4.9 million and imports totalled AUD 4.7
million. Our main exports to Uruguay are wool, hides and skins and recreational
items. Main imports from Uruguay include leather. Our primary exports complement
each other and there should be scope for greater trade opportunities for
a range of products and services. A one-off export of an Australian high
speed catamaran ferry for use between Uruguay and Argentina boosted our
1992 exports by AUD 33.5 million.