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
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.