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

Media Release

FA124 - 9 October 2003

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the European Communities, Belgium and Luxembourg

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the European Communities, Belgium and Luxembourg

I have today announced the appointment of Peter Grey as Australia’s Ambassador to the European Communities with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to Belgium and Ambassador to Luxembourg.

He will replace Joanna Hewitt who has been Ambassador since July 2000. Mr Grey is expected to take up his appointment in October 2003.

Australia’s bilateral ties with the European Union (EU) cover a diverse range of common economic, foreign and security interests and are underpinned by strong people-to-people links. The increasing breadth of our bilateral engagement has reflected the EU’s continuing integration and its enhanced role in economic areas, foreign and security policy and on justice and home affairs issues. Considered as a single entity, the EU is Australia’s largest trading partner and our major source of foreign investment.

Australia enjoys positive and constructive relations with Belgium and Luxembourg. The Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) is Australia's tenth largest investor with total inward investment (direct and portfolio investment) valued at A$11.2 billion in June 2002. The BLEU is the fifth largest EU investor in Australia. Two-way trade between Australia and the BLEU is also substantial, reaching A$1.9 billion in 2002.

Mr Grey joined the Department of Trade in 1971. He was appointed a Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1994 and was Australian Ambassador for APEC from 1996-98, a position he held concurrently with the position of Deputy Secretary.

From 1998-2001, Mr Grey was Australian Ambassador to Japan. He served in Washington as First Secretary (Commercial) from 1978-1980 and in Tokyo as Counsellor (Agriculture) from 1986-1989, having been Assistant Secretary in the Department of Primary Industry from 1982-1985. His appointments with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have also included Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Trade Division and Chief Negotiator for Trade in Services; First Assistant Secretary, Asia Division; and First Assistant Secretary, Trade Negotiations Division.

Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Minister’s office) (02) 6277 7500 - Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) (02) 6261 1555

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