Annual Report 2005-2006
 

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1. Overviews2. Performance3. Corporate4. Appendixes5. Financials6. Glossaries and Compliance Index

Your location: Performance > Outcome 1 > Output 1.1 > 1.1.3 Americas and Europe

OUTPUT 1.1: Protection and advocacy of Australia's international interests through the provision of policy advice to ministers and overseas diplomatic activity

1.1.3 Americas and Europe

On this page: Overview :: United States :: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) :: Europe :: Canada :: Latin America :: Outlook

Overview

The department successfully advanced Australia's political, security and economic objectives in the Americas and Europe.

The vitality of Australia's alliance with the United States was reaffirmed through high profile visits by the Prime Minister, Mr Howard and portfolio ministers, the Australia–United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations and the visit to Australia of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) brought significant trade and investment benefits to Australian business in its first eighteen months of operation. The landmark E-3 visa for qualified Australians to work in the United States came into effect in September 2005.

The department played a leading role in strengthening Australia's relations with Europe. We supported a range of high-level visits in both directions that demonstrated shared interests in security and trade and provided an opportunity to discuss other issues, such as agricultural subsidies. Mr Downer's delivery of the Europe Day Schuman Lecture in Canberra in May 2006 highlighted Europe and Australia's shared global responsibilities and welcomed the increased tempo of cooperation in counter-terrorism and development cooperation in the Asia–Pacific. The department supported the second Australia–UK Leadership Forum, attended by Prime Minister John Howard and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, which agreed to establish an Australia–UK Ministerial Dialogue along similar lines to our AUSMIN dialogue with the United States.

In May 2006 we supported the first bilateral visit to Canada by an Australian Prime Minister since 1985, affirming our close bilateral relations with this natural partner and our cooperation in a range of multilateral forums. The department enhanced Australia's relations with Latin America through increased cooperation on economic and multilateral issues, exemplified by our support for Mr Downer's third visit to the region.

United States

The department advanced Australia's security, economic and people-to-people links with the United States. The strength of the alliance was reaffirmed at AUSMIN 2005, held in November in Adelaide, attended by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and then Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick. Marking the 20th anniversary of AUSMIN, the consultations focused on strategic issues of mutual concern, including Afghanistan and Iraq. Outcomes included the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding on the Joint Combined Training Centre and announcement of the resumption of strategic bomber training.

Throughout the year, the department advanced Australia's interests with the United States in intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation (see sub-output 1.1.8 for more information).

A series of high-level visits added further momentum to our strategic and economic relationship with the United States. The department supported two visits to Washington by Mr Downer and one by Mr Vaile, in addition to those of five other federal ministers. The Prime Minister's visits in July 2005 and May 2006 reaffirmed shared interests in international security, counter-terrorism and trade.

In March 2006, the department supported a highly successful visit to Australia by US Secretary of State Rice. Secretary Rice participated in the inaugural ministerial-level Trilateral Strategic Dialogue with Mr Downer and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso (see sub-output 1.1.8 for more information). Australia and the United States cooperated closely on climate change issues through the Asia–Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, with US Secretary of Energy Bodman attending the inaugural ministerial meeting in Sydney on 12 January 2006 (see sub-output 1.1.7 for more information). The department supported participation by Australian ministers in the Australian–American Leadership Dialogues held in August 2005 in Sydney and June 2006 in Washington.

With other government agencies, we promoted Australia to a targeted US audience through Australia Week (G'Day LA) in January 2006. The Australia Week program highlighted Australia as a natural partner for the United States in investment, trade, tourism, culture and people-to-people exchanges. With more than 200 Australian companies involved in the program, it served as a significant platform to promote Australia's commercial capabilities and take advantage of interest generated by AUSFTA.

FIGURE 10. Australia's trade in goods(a) and services with the United States

Figure 10: Australia's Trade in Goods and Services with the United States

(a) Goods data is on a recorded trade basis.

Source: DFAT Stars database; ABS Regional services data 2005

The AUSFTA Joint Committee, co-chaired by Mr Vaile and his then US counterpart in Washington on 7 March 2006, gave momentum to the important ongoing work under the Agreement, including mutual recognition of professional qualifications and integration of Australian and US financial markets. To ensure a comprehensive whole of government approach, the department consulted state and territory governments before and after the meeting. We made successful representations to two US states (Oklahoma and Tennessee) to sign up to the government procurement provisions of the Agreement. Australian companies now have access to the government procurement markets of 31 US states. The department coordinated the implementation of AUSFTA across the Government and chaired mandated bilateral discussions on agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary matters, rules of origin and professional services. We helped Australian business take advantage of the Agreement by providing a responsive email and telephone hotline service. The department answered hundreds of AUSFTA-related inquiries in addition to conducting direct industry consultations.

The department chaired a government–industry working group on the US Farm Bill to monitor the debate in the United States on agricultural subsidies affecting Australian exports and to develop strategies encouraging reform of the Bill. The department worked with the US Administration on the implementation of the new E-3 visa, creating 10 500 places per year for qualified Australians. The visa became operational on 2 September 2005.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

Photo - See caption below for description
The annual Australia–United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations are a highlight of the bilateral calendar. In November 2005 Australia hosted the talks in Adelaide. From left to right: Then US Deputy Secretary of State Mr Robert Zoellick, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Alexander Downer, then Minister for Defence Mr Robert Hill, and US Secretary of Defense Mr Donald Rumsfeld at the AUSMIN joint press conference. Photo: Chesser Studios/Anne Stropin
Enlarge image :: Photo gallery

In cooperation with the Department of Defence, we continued to advance practical cooperation with NATO, building on the 2005 visit to Australia by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The most significant outcome was Australia's decision to contribute 400 troops to the Netherlands-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Oruzgan Province, as part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. This will be the first time Australia has deployed troops to a NATO operation, underlining Australia's commitment to the coalition effort in Afghanistan. The department provided foreign policy guidance to the Government on the deployment.

Europe

European Union

The department supported ministers in taking forward high-level contact with the European Union (EU), including Mr Downer's discussions with the United Kingdom—in its capacity as EU President—in September 2005 and with EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel in June 2006. We supported visits to Australia by EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel in August 2005 and February–March 2006. The Commissioner's discussions with Australian ministers helped increase bilateral understanding on agricultural issues in support of our goal of an ambitious outcome to the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral trade negotiations (see sub-output 1.1.5 for more information). Mr Downer's delivery of the Schuman Lecture marking Europe Day in May 2006 highlighted the depth and breadth of our relationship with the EU, including close cooperation to combat terrorism in South-East Asia and deliver development assistance to the Pacific.

To encourage stronger Australian business engagement in the European Union, the department supported a visit by the European Australia Business Council to Brussels, Paris and London in May 2006 which identified further opportunities for Australian companies in the EU. We made extensive representations to European counterparts in an effort to reduce the impact on Australian interests of some EU regulatory initiatives. In particular, we collaborated successfully with Australian business to achieve a number of amendments to the draft EU Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) legislation, safeguarding access for Australian minerals and metals to European markets (see box below).

Under the Australia–European Union Agenda for Cooperation, the department contributed to negotiations for a comprehensive air services agreement and an agreement on the exchange of airline passenger name records. We continued discussions with the European Union on possible Australian participation in the EU global satellite system, Galileo, which will provide opportunities for improved industrial, commercial and scientific cooperation with the EU.

Minimising the impact of EU regulation on Australian exporters

Throughout 2005–06, the department worked closely with Australian industry, the European Union and third countries to minimise the effect on our exports of the new EU regulation for the Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH). Responding to industry concerns that REACH could negatively affect Australia's minerals and metals sector, we devised and implemented a multi-layered advocacy strategy to influence the final version of the legislation as it went through the European Parliament and Council.

Working through our embassies and high commissions in Europe, we communicated Australia's concerns to EU member state governments, members of the European Parliament and key players in the European Commission. We worked closely with third countries sharing our concerns, including South Africa and Chile, as well as through APEC and the WTO. Our effective advocacy ensured our concerns registered with a number of key players in Europe. We worked with them on proposals to amend the text of REACH to protect our exporters' interests.

Our efforts resulted in all of Australia's suggested amendments being tabled in the European Parliament. The vast majority of our proposals—or similar amendments—were adopted by the Parliament and the Council in November and December 2005.

We continue to liaise with the European Union to seek to ensure Australian minerals products will not be subjected to the EU's onerous authorisation procedure, adversely affecting their competitiveness.

FIGURE 11. Australia's trade in goods(a) and services with the European Union

Figure 11: Australia's Trade in Goods and Services with the European Union
Photo - See caption below for description
In 2006 a range of political, social and cultural activities in Australia and the Netherlands commemorated the 400th anniversary of bilateral contact. In April 2006 our Ambassador to the Netherlands, Stephen Brady (second from left), welcomed 60 Dutch veterans who fought in Australia during the Second World War to his residence for an official function. Photo: Roland Smulders
Enlarge image :: Photo gallery

(a) Goods data is on a recorded trade basis.

Source: DFAT Stars database; ABS Regional services data 2005

Europe—bilateral relationships

The close links between Australia and the United Kingdom were confirmed at the highest levels during 2006. The department supported the visit to Australia of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in March 2006 when he joined Prime Minister Howard in leading the second Australia–UK Leadership Forum. A major outcome of the visit was the agreement to establish an Australia–UK Ministerial Dialogue (AUKMIN) to enhance practical cooperation on international security. With the Department of Defence, the department is working with UK counterparts on preparations for the first AUKMIN meeting in December 2006.

We supported visits to the United Kingdom by the Governor-General, Prime Minister Howard and Mr Downer, reinforcing the contemporary relevance of Australia–UK relations across a broad agenda, including regional and global security, counter-terrorism, climate change and energy security. The department worked closely with the UK Government to ensure positive outcomes for UK-based Australian business and investment interests. We made good progress on the repatriation of Australian Indigenous human remains, with remains continuing to return to Australia from UK institutions throughout 2005–06.

The department supported Mr Downer's visit in June 2006 to France, where he attended the inauguration of the Quai Branly Museum featuring major works by Australian Indigenous artists (see sub-output 3.1.2 for more information). The department contributed funding and helped plan and develop this unique initiative, which will showcase Australian Indigenous art to a wide audience. We supported Mr Downer's attendance at the France–Oceania Summit, where France reaffirmed its commitment to work closely with Australia and other regional countries to help underpin Pacific stability. The Summit outcomes built on the visit to Australia in March 2006 of the French Minister for Overseas Territories, Mr François Baroin, coordinated by the department, when ministers signed a joint declaration on cooperation to combat illegal fishing in the Pacific.

We worked with French counterparts to extend cooperation and dialogue on key international security issues affecting the Asia–Pacific. We led bilateral senior officials' economic talks that strengthened the bilateral trade and investment relationship.

The department supported Mr Downer's visit to Germany in June 2006. Highlighting the strong and expanding bilateral trade and investment relationship, Mr Downer opened the new premises of the Australian Consulate-General in Frankfurt and encouraged participation in the Melbourne 2007 German Australian Business Conference. We used the occasion of the Socceroos' involvement in the FIFA World Cup Finals, which Germany hosted, to highlight opportunities for boosting bilateral business, government-to-government and people-to-people ties. We supported negotiations on bilateral agreements covering working holiday makers, social security and double taxation.

To commemorate the 400th Anniversary of Australia–Netherlands contact, the department supported a number of high-level visits, including Mr Downer's visit to the Netherlands in January 2006 and the visit to Australia of Dutch Prime Minister Dr Jan Peter Balkenende in April 2006. The visits raised Australia's profile in the Netherlands and an accompanying business delegation signed a number of contracts with Australian firms. Dr Balkenende's visit also led to the announcement of an agreement for our countries to co-locate embassies in Kabul, Afghanistan. The department contributed to growing bilateral cooperation on international security issues, including joint participation in NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and a strengthened Dutch commitment to regional counter-terrorism measures, including through continued support for the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation.

The department upgraded officials-level contacts with Spain by holding counter-terrorism cooperation talks in May 2005 and two rounds of senior officials' talks in November 2005 and May 2006. The senior officials' talks led to renewed determination to resolve a number of outstanding issues. Both sides agreed to capitalise on developments in the bilateral relationship and to work together against illegal fishing activities in Australia's southern exclusive economic zone.

Australian parliamentary delegations visited Sweden and Denmark in October 2005 and Norway in May 2006 with departmental support. The department supported also the visit to Australia in November 2005 of the King and Queen of Sweden, accompanied by a high level business delegation. The visit helped promote greater appreciation in Sweden of Australia as an important potential partner in new fields such as biotechnology. The department hosted senior officials' talks with Norway in May 2006, at which we emphasised the value we place on continued strong flows of Norwegian students to Australia.

The department supported the visit of the Prime Minister to Ireland in May 2006, strengthening the bilateral relationship and expanding our multilateral dialogue with EU member countries. The department worked with the New South Wales Government and Catholic Archdiocese through our mission to the Holy See to facilitate the official handover of World Youth Day 2008 to Sydney. World Youth Day is a major gathering of Catholic young people from around the world who will participate in events affirming common values of peace, tolerance and understanding.

The department worked with other agencies to enhance and protect our rapidly growing merchandise trade and investment interests in Russia. Exports to Russia grew by 81 per cent in 2005, albeit from a low base, underpinned by strong growth in the minerals sector. We supported Austrade in organising the second Australia Week in Moscow, Australia's largest ever export promotion in Russia, in June 2006. We worked with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to resolve market access difficulties for our meat and animal products. The department concluded bilateral market access negotiations with both Russia and Ukraine as part of their processes of accession to the WTO. We supported the Treasurer's visit to St Petersburg to attend a G8 Finance Ministers' meeting in June 2006. With DAFF, the department supported a visit to Australia by a high-level agribusiness delegation from Kazakhstan.

We supported Mr Downer's visit to the Czech Republic and Hungary in September 2005 which significantly advanced our relations with both countries. The visit highlighted our similar views on important global issues including transatlantic relations, global security, the role of NATO—particularly increased links with Australia—and developments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Asia. We facilitated the conclusion of a joint ministerial communiqué with Poland to foster bilateral cooperation in environmental technologies, goods and services. The department also worked with the Department of Health and Ageing and private sector interests to promote greater cooperation between the two countries in the health and health insurance sectors and promote Australian services exports to Poland.

The department continued to lead the development of a more dynamic relationship with Turkey based on strong political and historical ties. We continued to work closely with the Department of Veterans' Affairs in planning, preparing and managing the annual Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli, attended by around 10 000 Australians in 2006. We opened a consulate in Canakkale on the Gallipoli peninsula to help manage the Anzac Day event. The department supported the Governor-General's attendance at the 2006 Gallipoli commemorations as part of an official visit to Turkey hosted by President Sezer.

The department also supported the Government's involvement in the revival of the Joint Economic Commission, which Turkey hosted in November 2005. Turkish Prime Minister Erdog˘ an visited Australia in December 2005 accompanied by several cabinet ministers and a large business delegation. During the visit Mr Erdog˘ an announced the offer of scholarships for Australian students to study in Turkey and agreements were signed promoting agricultural cooperation and permitting young Australians and Turks to study and work in each country. We contributed to enhanced bilateral cooperation in defence and counter-terrorism—a Framework Agreement for Defence Cooperation was signed in May 2006, counter-terrorism cooperation talks were held in Ankara in June 2006 and our political dialogue deepened through strategic talks, also held in June 2006.

The department assisted the work of the Special Envoy for Cyprus the Hon Jim Short, in support of international efforts to reunite Cyprus. The Special Envoy undertook a round of international consultations, including visits to Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Brussels in June 2006.

TABLE 7. Australia's trade in goods and services with Europe
  Export Export   Import Import  
Goods(a) and services 2004 $m 2005 $m Trend growth 2000–2005 2004 $m 2005 $m Trend growth 2000–2005
United Kingdom 9 318 9 208 8.3% 9 830 10 388 0.0%
Germany 2 265 2 251 0.9% 9 498 9 961 8.0%
Italy 1 644 1 748 –1.9% 4 945 4 878 8.3%
France 1 375 1 523 3.8% 5 062 5 685 15.4%
Netherlands 1 992 2 672 4.5% 1 853 1 768 5.2%
Total European Union(b) 20 983 22 658 4.7% 42 162 45 235 6.8%
Russian Federation 229 383 2.0% 103 151 10.0%
Other Europe 1 779 1 801 –1.6% 4 030 4 202 5.7%
Total 22 991 24 842 4.3% 46 295 49 588 6.7%

(a) Goods data is on a recorded trade basis.

(b) Services trade is for EU15 to 2004, EU25 from 2005 and merchandise trade for EU25.

Source: DFAT Stars database and ABS International trade in services by partner country 2005

Canada

The department quickly established productive relations with the new Canadian Government elected in January 2006. Prime Minister Howard's bilateral visit in May 2006—the first by an Australian prime minister since 1985—reaffirmed the close friendship and commonality of interests between the two countries. We continued to work with Canadian counterparts on counter-terrorism priorities in South-East Asia and deepened our dialogue on Afghanistan, following Australia's commitment of troops.

Latin America and the Caribbean

The department successfully enhanced Australia's relations with Latin America through increased bilateral economic interaction and cooperation on multilateral issues of mutual concern including UN reform, the Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations, sustainable fishing and environmental protection.

The department supported Mr Downer's first visit to Mexico as Foreign Minister in January 2006, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Mr Downer and his Mexican counterpart, Luis Derbez, agreed to establish a Joint Experts' Group (JEG) process to examine ways of expanding the bilateral economic relationship, including a possible future bilateral FTA. The Minister's visit boosted the Australia–Mexico energy partnership, underpinned by increasing exports of Australian coal to Mexico. We supported two visits by the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, to the region. In March 2006 the department participated in the sixth Joint Trade and Investment Commission, hosted by Mexico, which provided further impetus to potential trade and investment partnerships.

TABLE 8. Australia's trade in goods and services with the Americas
  Export Export   Import Import  
Goods(a) and services 2004 $m 2005 $m Trend growth 2000–2005 2004 $m 2005 $m Trend growth 2000–2005
United States 13 824 13 695 –4.7% 26 820 27 887 –1.5%
Canada 2 444 2 289 3.4% 2 404 2 503 1.2%
Mexico 458 870 14.3% 705 871 10.5%
Total NAFTA 16 739 16 882 –3.2% 30 216 31 546 –1.0%
Total Caribbean 192 178 0.5% 532 508 3.7%
Brazil(b) 561 861 8.0% 547 730 2.1%
Chile 171 212 4.5% 152 212 8.5%
Argentina(b) 80 155 6.9% 169 207 13.3%
Total South America(b) 954 1 332 6.7% 925 1 184 4.5%
Total 18 089 18 665 –2.7% 31 873 33 487 –0.8%

(a) Goods data is on a recorded trade basis.

(b) Data is for merchandise trade only, services data is not available.

Source: DFAT Stars database and ABS International trade in services by partner country 2005

The department helped strengthen the architecture of the trade relationship with Brazil by establishing a Bilateral Trade and Investment Commission. We supported Mr Downer's visit to Brazil in January 2006 when he met President Lula and, in meetings with various senior interlocutors, highlighted our strong record of multilateral cooperation on non-proliferation, WTO and UN matters. The department participated in the negotiation of an Australia–Brazil Air Services Agreement to provide a framework for future bilateral air services.

We continued to broaden our strong relationship with Chile by supporting the visit of former President Lagos and accompanying senior ministers in July 2005. The department maintained effective cooperation on multilateral issues, including through our shared membership of APEC. We supported the establishment of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation which Chile co-sponsored along with Australia and New Zealand. The organisation will provide an international conservation and management framework for the protection of non-highly migratory fisheries and biodiversity in the high seas areas of the southern Pacific Ocean, consistent with international law. We maintained an active bilateral dialogue on mining issues in support of the high level of Australian investment in Chile's mining sector.

The department collaborated with Argentina on agricultural trade issues, particularly through the Cairns Group (see sub-output 1.1.5 for more information). We encouraged Argentine support for Australia's multilateral objectives in the areas of whaling, human rights, the Antarctic and non-proliferation. We continued to develop the commercial relationship by improving exports and assisting Australian companies based in Argentina—2005 trade figures show that goods exports to Argentina increased by 95 per cent, albeit from a low base.

The department continued to support the work of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) aimed at expanding Australia's economic, political and social relations with Latin America. Through successful partnerships with government, business and the community, COALAR advanced Australia's commercial, cultural, education and tourism priorities (see sub-output 3.1.2 for more information).

The department facilitated several high-level visits from Caribbean countries to Australia for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March 2006 which helped strengthen our shared links through Commonwealth membership. We maintained strong sporting links through the final year of the Australia Caribbean Community Sports Development Program and helped preparations for the Caribbean-hosted 2007 Cricket World Cup. We continued to identify niche trade and investment opportunities for Australian business in the Caribbean, with an emphasis on Trinidad and Tobago.

Outlook

On 3 July 2006 the department's Americas and Europe Division was divided into an Americas Division and a Europe Division. These changes reflected the significance to Australia of these relationships and will improve our delivery of key policy and advocacy functions. Responsibility for the Central Asian republics has been transferred to a new South and West Asia, Middle East and Africa Division.

The department will continue to work closely on the implementation and forward agenda of AUSFTA with businesses, state and territory governments and other interested parties. We expect to host the second AUSFTA Joint Committee in 2007. The strategic relationship will continue to be developed through the regular AUSMIN consultations. The department will monitor closely political developments in the United States through the mid-term elections in November 2006 and will pursue our interests with newly elected members of Congress.

We will seek to consolidate cooperation with the European Union on counter-terrorism and development initiatives in South-East Asia and the Pacific. The department will identify opportunities to increase dialogue and cooperation with the EU on environment issues and energy security. We will work to improve bilateral procedures to enhance the free flow of trade and investment. We will seek to mitigate the impact of EU regulatory developments on Australian interests, including the implementation of the EU's new chemicals legislation.

PERSONAL PROFILE: CRISPIN CONROY, AMBASSADOR TO CHILE

Photo - See caption below for description
Ambassador Crispin Conroy presents Chilean President Dr Michelle Bachelet with an Akubra hat and boomerang at the Australian Pavilion, Expomin 2006, Santiago.
Enlarge image :: Photo gallery

As Australia's Ambassador to Chile, Crispin Conroy's key goal is to 'further strengthen Australia's profile and influence' in the country. Crispin worked quickly to build productive relations with the new Chilean administration headed by President Bachelet, who took office in March 2006. He says 'the President herself knows Australia well', describing it as a 'like-minded' country and natural ally.

Supporting Australian business interests is a major part of Crispin's work. The mining sector takes the majority of Australian investment in Chile. Crispin says that Australia's recent participation in 2006 Expomin—the second largest mining exposition in the world—'stands out as a major achievement in advancing Australia's business interests in Chile.' The Australian pavilion enjoyed participation by a record number of mining technology companies, attracting the attention of President Bachelet and Mining and Energy Minister Poniachick.

Australia's trade relationship with Chile is diversifying, and an important part of Crispin's role is to lead the government's efforts—in close cooperation with Austrade and Australia Education International offices in Santiago—to seek out new opportunities for Australian business. With over 70 Australian companies now represented in Chile, he seeks to advance diverse sectoral interests including mining technology, agribusiness, energy distribution, education, and food and beverage. And Chilean companies are looking to Australia both as an investment destination and as an investment partner in Asia. With six direct flights a week from Santiago to Sydney, Crispin notes that 'we can consider ourselves neighbours across the Pacific.'

Crispin joined the department in 1989. He has served previously as Australia's Ambassador to Nepal and at our missions in Madrid, Geneva and Port Moresby. In Canberra he has specialised in international law.

The department will support the inaugural Australia–UK Ministerial Dialogue, involving Foreign and Defence ministers, scheduled to be held in London in late 2006. We will also assist with a high-level seminar on global energy security and efficiency and pursue closer dialogue on climate change. We will seek further opportunities to broaden and deepen cooperation with France, especially in the Pacific and on key international security issues. We aim to increase dialogue and cooperation with the new government in Germany, including during its Presidencies of the EU and G8 in 2007. Relations with Russia will command more attention in the lead-up to the expected visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Australia in September 2007 and the conclusion of our bilateral negotiations on Russia's accession to the WTO. We will seek to build on the strong growth in trade with Turkey and work in close cooperation with other agencies and the Turkish Government to organise the Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli, in particular the consular arrangements.

We will continue to pursue opportunities to further strengthen relations with the new government in Canada. We will seek to build the economic architecture with key partners in Latin America in support of growing economic and political links with that region as a whole. The department will continue to provide strong support for the Council on Australia Latin America Relations as it pursues its targeted programs aimed at strengthening our links with Latin America.

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