18 June 1997

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Robert Hamilton as Australian Ambassador to Mexico, with non-resident accreditations to Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Mr Hamilton will replace Mr Richard Broinowski, who has been Ambassador since August 1994.

Australia and Mexico have an effective and expanding relationship, both as trading partners and through our shared interests on global and regional issues. Trade flows have resumed their growth as Mexico's economic recovery has continued. Australian exports to Mexico reached A$120 million in 1996 and recent trends indicate prospects for strong export growth in the future.

The institutional framework for the commercial relationship was strengthened by the signing of a Trade and Investment Agreement in 1994, establishing the Australia-Mexico Commission on Trade and Investment. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Mr Tim Fischer, visited Mexico on 2-3 June for the third meeting of the Commission, co-chaired by Mexican Trade Minister, Dr Herrninio Blanco. During his visit, Mr Fischer met President Zedillo and had calls on the Ministers of Agriculture, Energy and Finance. There was agreement between Mr Fischer and his Mexican counterparts to continue to intensify the excellent cooperation between Australia and Mexico in expanding bilateral trade and investment flows and in pursuing APEC's free trade goals and progressing the WTO work program.

Australia and Mexico have a strong record of cooperation on international issues, particularly on disarmament issues. We are both active members of the UN and are members of several other international organisations and groups in common, notably the OECD.

Australia's has good relations with Cuba and the Central American republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama and we also work with those countries on a number of international issues.

Mr Hamilton is a senior career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs in 1974 and has served in Beirut, Nairobi, Islamabad and Brussels. Most recently Mr Hamilton has held the position of Assistant Secretary, Consular Branch.

Mr Hamilton is a graduate of the Australian National University. He is married with two children.

Mr Hamilton is expected to take up his appointment in August 1997.