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New Ambassador to the EU and Belgium

New Ambassador to the EU and Belgium

Wade Armstrong will be New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the European Union and Belgium, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“Mr Armstrong is currently New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Ottawa. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1969 and has extensive experience in international issues, including bilateral, regional and multilateral aspects of trade policy.

“He was Permanent Representative in Geneva, where he was accredited to the World Trade Organisation, and was Director of the Trade Negotiations Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington. His other overseas assignments have been to Saigon, Tokyo, Canberra and New York.

“A priority for Mr Armstrong will be developing our important relationship with the European Union, our second largest economic partner and a major traditional customer for our agricultural exports.

“The forthcoming expansion of the EU to include ten new members presents new opportunities for our innovative exporters. A key task for the Brussels-based Embassy will be to help us identify and take advantage of those opportunities.

“New Zealand enjoys excellent relationships with Belgium. The participation of New Zealand soldiers in World War I battles in Belgium is still commemorated there with warmth and solemnity.

“The Belgian Crown Prince led a 40-strong trade mission to New Zealand just last month, accompanied by the Federal Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,” Mr Goff said.

Mr Armstrong will take up his posting in May, replacing Dell Higgie, who is returning to Wellington.

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