The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

Media Release

FA112a - 11 September 2003

Diplomatic Appointment: Consul-General In Guangzhou

I have today announced the appointment of Kevin Magee as Australia's Consul-General in Guangzhou.

Mr Magee will replace John Courtney who has been Consul-General since December 1999. Mr Magee is expected to take up his appointment in December 2003.

Australia's relationship with China is one of our most important, based on shared economic and security interests and rapidly growing people-to-people links.

Bilateral trade and economic ties continue to expand strongly. The value of two-way merchandise trade exceeded $22 billion in the financial year 2002-2003, with Australian exports, at $8.8 billion, increasingly diversifying into higher value-added manufactures and services. Australian exports to China have more than doubled in the past 4 years ($3.9 billion in 1998/99).

The Consulate-General in Guangzhou plays an important role in pursuing Australia's interests in southern China, particularly in the consular and economic areas. Guangdong Province is one of China's economic powerhouses and a major gateway for trade and investment. With a population of about 86 million, it produces more than one third of China's exports. It offers considerable trade and investment opportunities for Australian business.

Mr Magee is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently serving as Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission in Moscow. He has served as First Secretary in Singapore (1994-97) and Third Secretary in Beijing (1990-92). He was also a United Nations Disarmament Fellow based in Geneva and New York and joined the 47th Australian Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in October 1992.

In Canberra, Mr Magee held the position of Director, China Economic and Trade Section (2001), and Director, China Bilateral Relations Section (2000).

Mr Magee worked concurrently as Chief of Staff to the Hon. Mark Birrell, the Victorian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and as an adviser to the Premier of Victoria, Mr Jeff Kennett, on international issues, trade, investment and industry (1997-99).

Educated at Monash University, Mr Magee holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in Asian History and a Bachelor of Laws degree. He is married with one child, is fluent in Mandarin (Chinese) and French and speaks basic Russian and German.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Minister's office) 02 6277 7500, Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 15



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