MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER






FA39

16 May 97

DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: AMBASSADOR TO CHILE

I have today announced the appointment of Ms Susan Tanner as Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Chile, with non-resident accreditation to Peru and Bolivia. Ms Tanner will replace Mr Ken Berry, who has been Ambassador since March 1996.

Relations between Australia and Chile have expanded rapidly in recent years. Two-way trade between Australia and Chile has grown at a trend rate of 27 per cent per annum since 1991 to $278 million in 1996. More than 30 Australian companies now have offices in Chile, and Australia is now the sixth largest foreign investor in Chile.

The institutional framework to encourage further two-way trade and investment has also been put in place. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Mr Tim Fischer, visited Chile in June last year for bilateral discussions with Foreign Minister Mr Jose Miguel Insulza and Economy Minister Mr Alvaro Garcia. An Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement was signed during Mr Garcia's subsequent visit to Australia last year. During both visits there was agreement between Mr Fischer and his Chilean counterparts to continue to intensify the excellent cooperation between Australia and Chile in pursuing APEC's free trade goals.

Australia and Chile share other important international interests including promotion of fair agricultural trade through membership of the Cairns Group, and our mutual interest in environmental protection through such mechanisms as the Valdivia Group of southern hemisphere countries.

Australia's relations with Peru and Bolivia have also increased sign)ficantly in recent years, as economic and other reforms in both countries have attracted the interest of major Australian companies. Peru has long been a favoured Australian tourist destination, and like Australia, is also a member of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and Pacific Basin Economic Council.

Ms Tanner is a career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs in 1974 and has served in Brasilia, Washington and Santiago de Chile. From 1991 to 1993, Ms Tanner was the Departmental Counsellor and from 1994 to 1996, Director of the Executive Liaison Section in Executive Branch. Most recently Ms Tanner has been head of the Staff Planning and Development Branch in the Department's Corporate Management Division.

Ms Tanner is a graduate of the Flinders University of South Australia.

Ms Tanner is expected to take up her appointment in June 1997. She will bet-accompanied by her husband, Mr Bruce Hunt.