DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: AMBASSADOR TO PORTUGAL
I have announced today the appointment of Dr Janet Gardiner
as Australia's Ambassador to Portugal.
Dr Gardiner will be the first Ambassador in the newly reopened
post in Lisbon The Australian Embassy in Lisbon was last open
The reopening of the Embassy marks a new chapter in our relations
with Portugal. Our two countries have established close contacts
on East Timor and we enjoy a new spirit of friendship and cooperation.
The Embassy will play a leading role in building a' stronger
relationship based on mutual interests particularly in relation
to trade and investment but also involving a greater degree of
overall interaction between us including greater cooperation
in areas such as culture, education and tourism. There has been
a steady growth in tourist numbers with an increase of 28% (3,315)
in visitor arrivals in 1999.
Portugal's solid economic performance and integration with
the European Union (Portugal currently holds the rotating EU
Presidency), its important historical and commercial links including
with countries in South America and Africa, and membership of
regional and international organisations particularly NATO, make
it an important partner for Australia in Europe. Portugal was
amongst the first EU countries to join EMU. It is also a Schengen
country (along with Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France,
Germany and Spain).
Portugal's commercial links with Australia have considerable
scope to grow. In fiscal year 1999, twoway trade reached A$195
million. Australia's major exports, valued at A$54 million, were
coal, medicaments, cotton, wool and pigments, paints and varnishes.
Cork manufactures are by far the most important Portuguese export
to Australia, accounting for half of Portugal's total exports
of A$141 million.
Bilateral visits are becoming more frequent. The Portuguese
Foreign Minister, Dr Jaime Gama visited Australia in 1998 and
1999. 1 visited Lisbon in 1998 and subsequently in February 2000
for EU Presidency consultations and bilateral meetings with the
Portuguese Government including the Prime Minister, Antonio de
Oliveira Guterres and the President, Dr Jorge Sampaio. The Portuguese
Defence Minister, Julio Castro Caldas, visited Australia in February
Dr Gardiner joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs
in 1982. She has served as Ambassador in Damascus (1998-1999),
as Counsellor/Deputy Head of Mission in Bonn (1994-1998), as
First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission in Hanoi (1989-1991)
and as Third/Second Secretary in Belgrade (1983-1985). In Canberra
from 1991 to 1992 she worked as a member of the Cambodia Task
Force and from 1992 to 1994 as Director, European Communities
(Ministerial) Innes Willox (02) 6277-7500
(Departmental) Matt Francis/Julie McDonald (02) 6261-1555