Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb today announced the appointment of two experienced business executives to important senior trade and diplomatic posts in the United States.

Former investment banker Alastair Walton will serve as Senior Trade Commissioner and Consul General to Houston, while former Tasmanian Irrigation CEO Chris Oldfield will be Senior Trade Commissioner and Consul General to San Francisco.

Mr Robb said they would bring valuable private sector expertise to one of Australia’s most important economic relationships. “The Government is committed to ensuring the relationship continues to diversify and deepen, which will pay future dividends for Australian growth, jobs and innovation,” he said.

Mr Robb said both appointments would strengthen initiatives to maximise relations with the US, including next year’s inaugural Australia-United States Business Week.

“The US is the world’s largest economy, a leading source of innovation and a key partner for Australia as we pursue new opportunities created by our Free Trade Agreements with Asia and the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Mr Robb said.

Mr Walton was most recently the Chairman of BKK Partners, an independent investment bank, and previously Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Australia. He is the current President of the European Australia Business Council.

Mr Oldfield was CEO of Tasmanian Irrigation Pty Ltd, a Public Private Partnership between the Tasmanian and Federal governments and private investors. He was also Director of Tasman Communications Pty Ltd and CEO of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Associations.

In 2014, the US was our third-largest trading partner with goods exports valued at over $11 billion and services exports of more than $6.5 billion. It is Australia’s largest foreign investor as well as the top destination for Australian investment abroad.

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