Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

24 February 2009

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Chile

Ms Virginia Greville is to be Australia’s Ambassador to the Republic of Chile, succeeding Mr Crispin Conroy, who has been Ambassador since January 2006. Ms Greville is expected to take up her appointment in June 2009.

Australia enjoys a strong relationship with Chile, based on significant bilateral economic engagement and growing people to people links, including in education.

The Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement (ACl-FTA), signed on 30 July 2008 by Chile Foreign Minister Foxley and I, marks an important new stage in Australia’s relations with Chile. It will provide a further boost to bilateral trade which has grown strongly in recent years and exceeded $1.16 billion in 2007-08. It also presages a significant expansion in the depth and scope of the bilateral relationship.

Australia and Chile cooperate in a number of different multilateral forums including APEC, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, and work closely on issues such as regional security, the environment, illegal fishing and whaling. Australia and Chile are major agricultural exporters and continue to push for agricultural trade liberalisation as members of the Cairns Group.

Recent bilateral visits, such as the visit to Australia of President Michelle Bachelet for APEC in 2007 and the visit by Chilean Foreign Minister Foxley in 2008, have underscored the growing importance of the bilateral relationship.

Ms Greville will be concurrently accredited to Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Australia appreciated the effort made by Peru in successfully hosting APEC in 2008. Relations with Colombia have recently strengthened with Colombia re-opening its Embassy in Canberra in 2008. The negotiation of the expanded Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, which will involve Australia, along with Chile, Peru and others, will further enhance commercial links.

Ms Greville is a senior officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was Australia’s Chief Negotiator on the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement throughout the negotiations. She was concurrently Assistant Secretary, Market Development, Business Liaison and Regional Trade Policy Branch and Deputy Chief Negotiator on Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the Gulf States in 2007-08.  Previously, Ms Greville has also been Lead Agriculture Negotiator for the China Free Trade Agreement (2005-07) and Assistant Secretary of the Trade Commitments Branch (2004-05), where she was responsible for implementation of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement.

Overseas, Ms Greville served as Minister Counsellor, Agriculture at the Australian Embassy, Washington DC from 2000 until 2003. She returned to Australia as Assistant Secretary of the Trade Commitments Branch (2004-05), where she was responsible for implementation of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement.

Ms Greville holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Diploma in Public Law from the Australian National University. Ms Greville speaks Spanish and has three children.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555