The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
19 March 2001

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OECD in Paris

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Ian Forsyth as Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

Mr Forsyth will replace Mr Tony Hinton who has been Ambassador and Permanent Representative since June 1998.

The OECD was formally established on 30 September 1961.  Australia became a full member in 1971.  The 30-member OECD is the premier international consultative forum for economic, social and trade policy issues for the world's industrialised countries.  It undertakes analysis and provides advice on these issues for Member Countries.  Many of its products are also available more widely to the public and the international community.  The OECD provides some of the world's most authoritative economic, trade and social analysis and statistics.

The Australian Government is an active participant in OECD activities and a strong contributor to its policy products.  Australia benefits through the opportunity to exchange ideas and develop policy best practice across the broad range of government activities covered by the OECD work program.  Mr Forsyth's past work in the OECD Secretariat and his broad experience as a trade negotiator and Ambassador will equip him well to advance Australia's interests in the OECD.

Mr Forsyth is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Australia's Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey.   Overseas, he has served as Commercial Counsellor in Washington (1984-87) and worked in the OECD Secretariat in Paris (1975-77).

In Canberra, Mr Forsyth has served as Assistant Secretary, Environment Branch (1997); Assistant Secretary, West Europe Branch (1992-96); Assistant Secretary, Trade and Competitiveness Branch (1989-92); Director, Trade in Services Section (1988-89); Director, Middle East North Africa Section (1984); and Director, GATT Section (1980-83).

Educated at the University of Western Australia, Mr Forsyth has a Bachelor of Economics degree.  He is married with three children.

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 62777 500/
Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 2534/


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