Today I announce the appointment of Mr Justin Brown PSM as Australia’s next Ambassador to Belgium, the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), with non-resident accreditation to Luxembourg.

Australia’s longstanding ties with Belgium and Luxembourg reflect our shared history, common values, and strong economic links. Our trade with the two countries reached nearly $3.6 billion in 2016-17.

Our relationship with the EU is substantial. The EU is Australia’s largest source of foreign investment – valued at more than $1 trillion in 2016 – and our second largest trading partner, with total two-way goods and services trade worth $100 billion in 2016-17. We are committed to negotiating a modern, ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, with a view to launching negotiations in 2018.

Australia’s close relationship with NATO, through the Enhanced Opportunities Partnership, underlines Australia’s commitment to international peace, security and the rules-based order.

Mr Brown is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Deputy Secretary with responsibility for trade policy and negotiations. In Canberra, he has held a range of positions including First Assistant Secretary, Office of Trade Negotiations, and First Assistant Secretary, Consular and Crisis Management Division. He has previously served overseas as High Commissioner to Canada; Consul-General, Los Angeles and Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Brussels.

He holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of New England. He was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2015.

I thank previous Ambassador Mark Higgie for his contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in Belgium, Luxembourg, the EU and NATO since 2014.

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