Diplomatic Appointment — Ambassador to Argentina

Media release: Dr Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs

Canberra

13 September 2011

Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Craig Emerson today announced that Ms Patricia Holmes would be Australia's next Ambassador to Argentina, with non-resident accreditation to Paraguay and Uruguay.

Ms Holmes is expected to take up her appointment in November 2011, and will replace Mr John Richardson, who has been Ambassador since August 2008.

Argentina is an important trading partner in Latin America. Two-way merchandise trade with Argentina was A$627 million in 2010. Australian investment in Argentina is valued at around $161 million, concentrated in mining, agribusiness, viniculture and services.

Australia and Argentina cooperate closely in multilateral economic forums. As members of the G20, Australia and Argentina work together for global economic stability. Argentina is also a valued partner in the Cairns Group of free traders in agriculture.

The two countries also cooperate closely on Antarctic issues, illegal fishing and other environmental matters affecting the Southern Ocean, and work together in international peacekeeping operations and on nuclear and disarmament issues.

Australia also enjoys friendly relations and cooperates closely with Paraguay and Uruguay, particularly in the WTO and the Cairns Group. Our three nations work closely together in the UN, including with Uruguay on the protection of civilians.

The Australia-New Zealand-Mercosur Dialogue with Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil is an important vehicle for strengthening relations with these Latin America nations. Foreign Minister Rudd was the first Australian Minister to address Mercosur's Council of Ministers last year.

Australia's links with the region are also reinforced by projects supported by the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR), and cooperation in the Forum for East Asia Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC), which Argentina hosted in August 2011.

Ms Holmes is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Legal Counsel Branch, a position she held since April 2010. Ms Holmes has served previously in Geneva, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

Ms Holmes holds a Bachelor of Science with a Bachelor of Law degree from Macquarie University; a Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies from the University of Technology, Sydney; a Masters of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Trade and a Masters of Laws in Environmental Law from the Australian National University. Ms Holmes was admitted to the Bar of NSW and ACT in 1992. Ms Holmes speaks Spanish. She has a partner and three children.

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