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New Ambassador To The Philippines

New Zealand's next Ambassador to the Philippines would be career diplomat Terry Baker, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said it will be important for New Zealand to develop good relations with key members of the new Government, especially in the trade and agriculture portfolios.

"Our new Ambassador will take up his position at an interesting time in the political history of the Philippines, as the new administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo settles in."

Mr Sutton said trade between New Zealand and the Philippines was increasing.

"Dairy products remain New Zealand's dominant export item, although exports of wood, pulp and paper are also recording strong growth. A number of New Zealand companies operate in the Philippines, especially in energy, infrastructure development and housing construction.

"New Zealand also has a long-standing development assistance relationship with the island of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines. The Bukidnon Forestry project, which began in 1989, is one of our largest development projects."

Mr Baker is an experienced officer who joined the Ministry in 1968. His overseas postings have been in Paris, Niue, Kuala Lumpur and most recently Los Angeles, where he was Consul-General from 1992 to 1996. At present, he is the Director of the Ministry's Property and Capital Management Division.

He will take up his new position in May, replacing Graeme Waters who is returning to Wellington.


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