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

Media Release

FA176 - 15 December 2004

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Mexico

I have today announced the appointment of Neil Allan Mules AO as Ambassador for Australia to the United Mexican States. Mr Mules will succeed Mr Graeme Wilson who has been Ambassador since January 2002. Mr Mules is expected to take up his appointment in March 2005.

Australia and Mexico enjoy close and expanding relations. Mexico is one of Australia's largest trading partners in Latin America, with bilateral trade of around A$1 billion in 2003-04. Commercial links were boosted by the entry into force of a Double Taxation Agreement in January 2004, and we will conclude an Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (IPPA) in the near future.

Mexico is an increasingly attractive trade and investment destination for Australian companies across a range of sectors. The energy sector is extremely important, with coal being our largest export to Mexico and with the potential for significant LNG supply from Australia. Agriculture is another pillar of our bilateral trade, particularly meat and dairy products. Australia's export profile continues to strengthen and diversify, as evidenced by a rapid rise in enrolments by Mexican students in Australian education institutions, the introduction of a 20 peso polymer note and sharply increased wine sales. We are developing further bilateral cooperation in these and other sectors, including through a Joint Trade and Investment Commission meeting and through the work of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR), which has sponsored visits by prominent Mexican journalists and has promoted Australian goods and services. Australia and Mexico are also partners in a range of multilateral fora, including the WTO and APEC, and share a commitment to agricultural trade liberalisation.

Mr Mules is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and served as Head of the Australian Representative Office in Baghdad prior to being appointed as Australian Ambassador to Iraq in June 2004. Mr Mules has also served as Deputy Head of Mission in Jakarta (2002-03); Counsellor in Hanoi (1996-98); Counsellor in Jakarta (1992-95); First Secretary in Harare (1988-90); First Secretary in Ankara (1985-88); and Third Secretary and later Second Secretary in Brasilia (1981-84).

In Canberra, Mr Mules was First Assistant Secretary, Diplomatic Security, Property and Information Management Division (2000); Assistant Secretary, Maritime South East Asia Branch (1998-2000); Director, Conditions of Service Section (1991-92); and Desk Officer, Refugees, Immigration and Asylum Section (1984-85).

Born in 1954, Mr Mules holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Flinders University. He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in April 2004 for his outstanding service as Australia's representative in Iraq.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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