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

Media Release

12 October 2007

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Mexico

Ms Katrina Cooper is to be Australia’s new Ambassador to the United Mexican States. Ms Cooper will succeed Mr Neil Mules AO who has been Ambassador since March 2005. Ms Cooper is expected to take up her appointment in January 2008.

Australia and Mexico enjoy close and strengthening relations. In 2006, Mexico was Australia's largest trading partner in Latin America, with total two way merchandise trade reaching A$1.9 billion. Australia has both a Double Taxation Agreement and an Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (IPPA) with Mexico. Also in 2006, both countries agreed to establish a Joint Experts’ Group to investigate further enhancing the economic relationship.

Mexico is an increasingly attractive trade and investment destination for Australian companies in a range of sectors, particularly energy. Australia exported coal worth A$ 418 million to Mexico in 2006 and there is good potential for significant LNG exports from Australia. Mexico has emerged as an important exporter of motor vehicles and piston engines to Australia. Over 1,100 Mexicans enrolled at Australian educational institutions in 2006. Australia’s Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) has played an important role over the last six years in sponsoring visits by prominent Mexican journalists and expanding cultural links between the two countries.

Mexico is an important partner for Australia in APEC, the WTO, the OECD and the UN and both countries have agreed to work closely together on climate change issues.

Ms Cooper is currently Legal Adviser, International Organisations and Legal Division. Prior to this she was Assistant Secretary, Domestic Legal Branch (2006-07). Overseas, Ms Cooper has served as Counsellor in Port Moresby (2002-05) and Third, later Second Secretary in Santiago de Chile (1995-98). In Canberra, Ms Cooper has held a range of positions including Director, Administrative and Domestic Law Group (2000-01), Director, Biological Disarmament Unit (1999-2000). She also worked in the Canada, Latin America and Caribbean Section (1993-94).

Ms Cooper holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees and a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from the Australian National University. She speaks Spanish and French. Ms Cooper 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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