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Media release

30 May 2008

Diplomatic Appointment - Consul-General in Shanghai

Mr Tom Connor is to be Australia’s new Consul-General for Australia in Shanghai. Mr Connor will succeed Ms Dietz-Henderson who has been Consul-General since February 2006. He is expected to take up his appointment in July 2008.

Australia's relationship with China is substantial and growing. The relationship is based solidly on strong complementarities. Australia is a stable, reliable supplier of the high quality minerals, energy, foodstuffs and services that China needs for its continued economic growth and development. Two-way trade in 2006-7 exceeded $54 billion, with average annual growth of 25 per cent over the last five years. People-to-people links are also growing strongly, particularly in education and tourism. Our two countries are negotiating a bilateral FTA, a historic opportunity to remove trade barriers and deepen integration of our economies.

The Consulate-General in Shanghai plays an important role in developing the relationship in eastern China, particularly in the consular and economic areas. The Municipality of Shanghai is central to China's economy and a major gateway for foreign trade and investment. Shanghai, together with its neighbouring Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, forms China's biggest and most dynamic economic zone - the Yangtze-River Delta economic zone (YRD). The YRD accounts for about half of Australia's imports from China, and one third of Australia's exports to China. The Consulate-General in Shanghai is responsible for a consular district encompassing five provinces, in addition to the municipality of Shanghai, with a combined population of over 300 million, offering considerable trade and investment opportunities for Australian business. Shanghai will host the 2010 World Expo.

Mr Connor is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Assistant Secretary, North East Asia Branch. He has served overseas as Counsellor (Policy) in Tokyo (2003-06), Counsellor (Policy) in Beijing (1994-97) and as Vice-Consul, later Consul in Shanghai (1988-90).

Earlier roles in Canberra have included Ministerial Speechwriter (1998-2001), Director, China Bilateral Relations Section (1996-98), Director, Australia-Korea Foundation (1992-93) and Executive Officer, Australia-China Council (1990-91).

Mr Connor holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law degrees from the Australian National University, a Master of Business Administration from Deakin University and a Master of Laws (International Law) from the Australian National University. He was admitted as Barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. He is married with two sons. Mr Connor speaks Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese.

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