Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

16 June 2008

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Argentina

Mr John Richardson is to be Australia’s new Ambassador to the Argentine Republic, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Uruguay and the Republic of Paraguay. Mr Richardson is expected to take up his appointment in September 2008, succeeding Mr Peter Hussin who has been Ambassador since August 2004.

The relationship between Australia and Argentina has developed strongly in recent years. Australia and Argentina share a broad range of national interests, which have supported growing commercial relations and cooperation in a range of multilateral fora.

As agricultural producers, Australia and Argentina (as well as Paraguay and Uruguay) work together in the WTO through the Cairns Group to promote fairer trade in agricultural products. As major Southern Hemisphere countries, Australia and Argentina cooperate on Antarctic issues and environmental matters which affect the southern oceans, especially in efforts to address the problem of illegal fishing. We also contribute towards establishing a more peaceful and safer world through our cooperation on nuclear and disarmament issues.

Australia has a modest, though growing, trade relationship with Argentina with two-way trade amounting to around $375 million in 2007. Australian investment in Argentina is valued at around $161 million, with significant investments in the mining and agribusiness sectors.

While Australia’s trade and economic interests in Uruguay and Paraguay are not as extensive, Australia values the cooperation we enjoy with both countries, particularly on multilateral issues in the UN, the WTO, and in the Cairns Group. Australia looks forward to increasing our involvement with Paraguay and Uruguay on issues of mutual concern.

Australia’s broader links with all three countries are also boosted by projects undertaken by the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR).

Mr Richardson is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Assistant Secretary, APEC Branch (2006-08). Overseas, Mr Richardson served as Minister in Bonn, later Berlin (1998-2001) and Minister in Bangkok (1993-94). Previous positions in Canberra include Assistant Secretary, Diplomatic Security Branch (2001-05), Assistant Secretary, North East Asia Branch (1995-98) and Assistant Secretary, Trade Strategy Branch (1991-92).

Educated at the Australian National University, Mr Richardson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours in economics). He speaks Spanish, Japanese and German. Mr Richardson has two adult sons. He will be accompanied by his partner.

Media inquiries