Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Joint Media Release

with the Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs

13 July, 2009

Appointment of APEC Ambassador

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith and Minister for Trade Simon Crean today announced the appointment of Mr Ric Wells as Australia’s Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), succeeding Mr David Spencer in the position.

As Ambassador for APEC, Mr Wells will have responsibility for representing and guiding Australia's interests in APEC fora and with APEC member economies.

Established in 1989, APEC has evolved to become the leading economic forum in our region, bringing together the Leaders of 21 Asia-Pacific economies, including many of Australia’s two way trading partners.  APEC is a major driving force in promoting open trade and investment, sustainable economic development and prosperity in our region.

APEC economies account for over 68 percent of Australia’s two-way trade in goods and services.  Together APEC economies accounted for 56 per cent of global GDP, over 43 per cent of world trade and 40 percent of the world’s population. In 2009 APEC celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

Mr Wells is a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a position he has held since June 2009. Other Senior Executive Service positions Mr Wells has held in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are:  Head, China Free Trade Agreement Taskforce (2005-09); First Assistant Secretary, South Pacific, Africa and Middle East Division (2003-05); Head, White Paper Taskforce (2002-03); Assistant Secretary, Trade Policy Issues and Industrials Branch (1999) and Assistant Secretary, Services and Intellectual Property Branch (1994-95).   

Mr Wells was seconded to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as Assistant Secretary, Asia, Americas and Trade Branch (2000-01) and to the Office of National Assessments as an analyst (1985-87). 

Mr Wells has served overseas as Minister, Geneva WTO (1995-99); First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Jakarta (1987-90); and Third Secretary, later Second Secretary, Australian Embassy, Cairo (1982-85). 

Mr Wells holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney and he speaks Arabic and Indonesian.  He is married. 


Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Clinton Porteous 0403 369 588 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555 - Austrade 0425 354 972