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Diplomatic appointment: Ambassador to Vietnam



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M EDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA48 23 April 1998

DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Michael Mann as Australian Ambassador to Vietnam. Mr Mann will replace Ms Susan Boyd who has been Ambassador since October 1994.

Mr Mann's appointment comes at a time of opportunity for the bilateral relationship. 1998 is the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam, with a series of events being celebrated to mark the occasion. The bilateral relationship is expanding with links across a range of new issues, reflecting a strong commitment on the part of both Governments to strengthening and deepening the relationship.

Australian business has become increasingly active in Vietnam over the past few years. Australia is currently ranked twelfth among foreign investors in Vietnam with investment projects valued at $800 million. Bilateral trade with Vietnam continues to expand at a rapid rate from less than $2 million in 1982 to $823 million in 1997. Exports to Vietnam in 1997

amounted to $236 million with imports totalling $586 million.

The impressive growth in two-way trade and investment between the two countries in recent years is adding further substance to a partnership that, on both the Government and private * sector sides, is already in excellent shape. Education and training links are important and growing. Australia, for example, is the largest provider of government scholarships to Vietnam and the number of private students is growing impressively. The bilateral

development cooperation program is one of the largest for each country. As well, there are growing links in the areas of security, human rights and cultural exchanges.

Mr Mann joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1966. He has served in Osaka, Phnom Penh, Rome, Beijing, Bali (where he opened the mission), Bangkok and Paris. From 1990 to 1994 he was Ambassador to Laos. In Canberra from 1988 to 1990 he was Assistant Secretary, Personnel and Services in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. From

1994 to 1997 Mr Mann was Chief Executive of Australia Television at the ABC. Following Australian Television's sale, Mr Mann continued in the same role under the new owners Channel Seven, until he rejoined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in February 1998. He is married and has two daughters.

Mr Mann is expected to take up his appointment in May 1998.

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