Today I announce the appointment of Mr Nicholas Coppel as Australia’s Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
Our bilateral relationship continues to deepen in support of the country’s political, social and economic reform process. Australia’s substantial development program in Burma is focused on peace, governance, education, health and agriculture.
The Myanmar Government’s successful chairmanship of ASEAN and the East Asia Summit in 2014, including hosting the ASEAN-Australia 40th anniversary Commemorative Summit, demonstrates its strengthening role in the region.
With a focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in multilateral settings, Australia is gradually enhancing our defence engagement. The Australian Federal Police has a long-standing presence in Burma, working with the Myanmar Police Force to combat transnational organised crime.
Burma is now one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economies. Rising exports, consumption and investment have fuelled growth of over eight per cent in 2014-15. Our two-way merchandise trade has more than doubled over the last five years, with growing opportunities for Australian investors in energy, financial services and infrastructure. Education ties are also expanding, including through the New Colombo Plan and Australia Awards scholarships.
Mr Coppel is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was most recently Assistant Secretary in the People Smuggling Taskforce. Overseas, he has served as Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands; Deputy High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea; and Deputy Head of Mission in Manila, with an earlier posting to Washington DC. Mr Coppel holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the Australian National University and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School.
I thank outgoing Ambassador Bronte Moules for her dedicated work in strengthening our relationship with the Myanmar Government, including during its term as chair of ASEAN.
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