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

Media Release

25 October 2006

Diplomatic Appointment: Consul-General in Guangzhou

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Sean Kelly as Australia's Consul‑General in Guangzhou.  Mr Kelly will replace Kevin Magee who has been Consul-General since December 2003.  MrKelly is expected to take up his appointment in December 2006.

China’s growing economic and political influence is having a profound impact on the Asia-Pacific region and the world.  Our highly complementary economies will ensure that Australia continues to benefit from China’s rapid economic growth and ongoing modernisation.  A strong partnership with China is an important objective of Australian policy. 

China is Australia’s second-largest merchandise trading partner and merchandise export partner. Two-way trade (including services) has more than quadrupled in the last decade to $41 billion. Last year, our merchandise exports to China grew by 46 per cent to $16 billion, underpinned by strong growth in resources exports.

Guangdong is China’s largest provincial economy, producing close to a third of China’s exports. It is one of the world’s fastest growing regions and is a major gateway for trade and investment. Guangdong alone accounts for one fifth of Australia’s trade with China, is the biggest Chinese market for Australian education providers and the largest source of Chinese tourists.  Trade relations entered a new phase in June 2006 with the start of commercial shipments to Guangdong of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the North West Shelf.  The contract to supply LNG is worth $25 billion over 25 years.

Mr Kelly was most recently Director, Counter-Proliferation Section in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Previous positions have included Director, APEC Trade and Investment Liberalisation Section and Executive Officer, Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan Affairs Section.  He has also worked in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Austrade, as well as the private sector as a trade consultant in Asia.

Overseas Mr Kelly has served in the Australian Embassy in Beijing (2002-2006), the Australian Commerce and Industry Office, Taipei (1996-1999), and the Australian Embassy Hanoi (1986-88).

Mr Kelly was born in Brisbane in 1959.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Modern Asian Studies from Griffith University, a Graduate Diploma (Strategic Studies) from the Joint Services Staff College and a Master of International Law degree from ANU.  He was an East West Center Fellow in 1982. Mr Kelly speaks Mandarin and Vietnamese and is married and has two children.

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

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