Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Chile

Media release

29 May 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced that Mr Tim Kane will be Australia's next Ambassador to Chile. The Ambassador to Chile has non-resident accreditation to Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Mr Kane is expected to take up his appointment in July 2012, and will replace Ms Virginia Greville who has been Ambassador since June 2009.

Australia enjoys a strong bilateral relationship with Chile, based on a significant bilateral economic partnership, growing people-to-people links and cooperation in international fora.

Our bilateral relationship has strengthened through the entry into force of the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement (ACI-FTA) in 2009 and participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. Total two-way merchandise trade exceeded A$1.42 billion in 2011, over six times the volume of trade in 2001.

Australia and Chile cooperate in a number of multilateral forums including APEC, the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Forum for East Asia — Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) and the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI). We are working together on regional security, the environment, illegal fishing and whaling. Both countries are major agricultural exporters and continue to push for agricultural trade liberalisation.

Recent bilateral visits, such as those by the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, Dr Craig Emerson to Chile in April 2012 and Chilean Minister for Mines, Hernan De Solminihac, to Australia in September 2011, underscore the importance of the relationship.

Direct flights from Sydney to Santiago with Qantas will boost tourist numbers, with over 33,000 Australians having travelled to Chile in 2011.

Relations with Colombia have expanded in recent years. Australia will open a Consulate-General in Bogota in 2012 to support increasing visitor numbers and links in the mining sector and education. Colombia is the second largest source of international students from Latin America studying in Australia.

Australia's bilateral trade with Ecuador and Venezuela is modest but growing. Australia and Ecuador signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on political consultations in 2011, and Australia has committed A$500,000 of in-kind support towards the Yasuni National Park initiative.

Mr Kane is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was most recently Director of Staffing. Mr Kane has served as Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Washington DC and Deputy Head of Mission, Mexico City, with an earlier posting to Santiago. He served as Senior Adviser in the International Division of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Kane holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours from the University of Melbourne, a Master of Arts in International Relations from Deakin University, and a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from the Australian National University. He speaks Spanish.

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