MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER


FA 88

5 August 1999

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador To Chile

I have today announced the appointment of Mr John Campbell as Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Chile, with non-resident accreditation to Peru and Bolivia. Mr Campbell will replace Ms Susan Tanner, who has been Ambassador since June 1997. He is expected to take up his appointment in November 1999.

Relations between Australia and Chile have expanded rapidly in recent years. In commercial terms, Chile's importance to Australia derives from our significant investment links, estimated at over $US 1 billion. Bilateral trade, though modest, is also growing and accounted for A$ 299 million in 1998. There are now over forty Australian or Australian-affiliated companies based in Santiago. The institutional framework to encourage further two-way trade and investment has also been put in place. The inaugural meeting of the Australia-Chile bilateral trade and investment commission was co-chaired by the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, the Hon Tim Fischer in November 1998. The commission's work program will focus on improving the framework for commercial relations by identifying practical measures to facilitate trade and investment and by increasing cooperation on trade policy.

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 in recent years, as economic and other reforms in both countries have attracted the interest of major Australian companies. In particular, Australia has a growing commercial presence in Peru, based mainly on Peru's growing attractiveness as a destination for mining investment and mining services and equipment exports. Peru has long been a favoured Australian tourist destination, and like Australia, is also a member of APEC. Australia recently established a Consulate General in Lima to manage commercial and consular interests.

Mr Campbell is an experienced career diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He worked for the Reserve Bank of Australia from 1960-65 before joining the Department in 1966. He had postings to Seoul (1966-70), UN New York (1973-76) and as Counsellor in Belgrade (1978-79) and in Seoul (1979-82). He was Head of the UN Economic Section in 1983. Mr Campbell was appointed Ambassador to Laos in 1984 and Ambassador to Israel in 1987, after which he served as Assistant Secretary, Security and Communications Branch (1990-91), Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary and Media Branch (1991-94) and Assistant Secretary, Corporate Services Branch (1995-96). He was Ambassador for Disarmament and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva from 1996 until recently.

Mr Campbell was born in Sydney in 1943 and has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Western Australia.


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Department - Mark Croxford (02) 6261 1555

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