Today I announce the appointment of Mr Paul Robilliard as Australia’s next Ambassador to Thailand.
Mr Robilliard is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently First Assistant Secretary, South and West Asia Division. He has served overseas as Deputy Head of Mission in Jakarta; Consul-General in Honolulu; and Ambassador to Syria and Lebanon, with earlier postings in Singapore and Syria.
Mr Robilliard holds a Bachelor of Arts with honours from the Australian National University in Canberra.
Australia has a longstanding and close relationship with Thailand. Formal diplomatic relations were established in 1952 and are today underpinned by a treaty-level Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation.
Australia and Thailand are major partners in trade and investment, law enforcement, defence, education and tourism. We cooperate closely on regional issues such as counter-terrorism and combatting people smuggling. We work together in regional forums including the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and APEC.
Australia's trade and economic relationship with Thailand has grown strongly since the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) came into force in 2005. Thailand is now Australia’s sixth-largest trading partner, with merchandise trade worth $16.3 billion. We are pursuing further liberalisation through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.
Thailand is a significant source of inward direct investment for Australia, with the total stock valued at $4.6 billion in 2013. Australian companies are also actively pursuing business opportunities in Thailand, including in the transport, logistics, construction, manufacturing, financial services and education sectors.
People-to-people interaction between our two countries is significant. More than 900,000 Australians travelled to Thailand in 2013 and the provision of high-quality consular services to travelling Australians is a priority for the Embassy. Australia is a destination of choice for Thai students studying abroad. We are working to expand institutional and people-to-people links through the Australia Thailand Institute.
Mr Robilliard is expected to take up his appointment in October, replacing Mr James Wise.
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