MEDIA RELEASE
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS - ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA 5 - 21 January 2000

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Spain

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Tim George as Australia's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain with non-resident accreditation to the Principality of Andorra.

Mr George will replace Mr Richard Starr who has been Ambassador since March 1997. He is expected to take up his appointment in June.

Australia and Spain enjoy a strong and well-developed relationship. The bilateral economic relationship is being steadily reinforced through excellent growth in trade flows, with considerable potential for further growth. The countries share similar views on many global issues including human rights, security, disarmament and the environment. A number of bilateral agreements have been concluded in recent years including a Travel Facilitation Arrangement, Double Taxation Agreement, an Agreement on Social Security and an Agreement on Cultural, Educational and Scientific Cooperation, providing a strong framework within which tourism, trade and investment and other forms of cooperation can develop. Sporting and cultural exchanges are well developed.

The Spanish economy is the fifth largest in the European Union and the eighth largest in the OECD, and has shown very strong growth rates in recent years. For Australian business Spain offers the attractions of a large, diverse and industrialised Eurozone economy with an advantageous cost structure compared to its European partners. Bilateral trade, which is approximately in balance,was valued in 1998-99 at AUD$1.214 billion, with major Australian exports including fast ferries, coal, seafood and copper ores. Investment ties have been relatively limited, although prospects for developing the investment relationship are promising.

Mr George joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1974. He was Deputy High Commissioner in Wellington from 1994 to 1997 and Deputy High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur from 1992 to 94. He has also served in Bangkok, Santiago de Chile, Moscow and Suva. He has been Assistant Secretary of the Europe Branch in the Department since 1998.

Mr George has an LLB(Hon) degree from the University of Adelaide. He is married, with two sons.


Media contacts:  Minister - Innes Willox (02) 6277 7500
Department - Matt Francis (02) 6261 1555

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:35:11 EST