Joint Media release
Joint Media release

Joint Media Release

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and the Minister for Trade Mark Vaile

19 January 2005

Appointment of APEC Ambassador

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and Minister for Trade Mark Vaile today announced the appointment of Mr Doug Chester as Australia’s Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), succeeding Dr Geoff Raby in the position.

As Ambassador for APEC, Mr Chester will have responsibility for representing and guiding Australia's interests in APEC forums.  APEC was established in 1989 to promote economic growth and prosperity in the region and to strengthen the Asia-Pacific community.  Its  primary focus is promoting trade and investment liberalisation and business facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, but its agenda has expanded in recent years to address challenges confronting the region including counter-terrorism and other threats to regional security and prosperity.   Around 70 per cent of Australia's merchandise exports are destined for markets in APEC economies.

Mr Chester is currently a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  He has been in this position since June 2003.  Prior to this he held a number of senior positions in the corporate management and trade areas of the department.   These included First Assistant Secretary Corporate Management Division (2001-2003), Assistant Secretary Staffing Branch (1997-1999), Assistant Secretary World Trade Organisation Branch (1996-1997) and for a short period Assistant Secretary Agriculture Branch (1996).

Mr Chester was Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam during 2000 when Brunei Darussalam hosted APEC.  He has also served in the Australian Embassy in Washington as Counsellor (Commercial) (1994-1996).

Mr Chester joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1990 from the then Department of Industry, Science and Tourism to work on trade and intellectual property issues in the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations.

Mr Chester is married with two children.  He holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the Australian National University.

Media inquiries: Mr Downer’s office 02 6277 7500 -   Mr Vaile’s office  02 6277 7420