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Hong Kong signs wine agreement with Spain (with photos)

     The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, and the Spanish Minister for Industry, Tourism and Trade, Mr Miguel Sebastiˆhn, today (October 28) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Co-operation in Wine-Related Businesses. The MOU was signed at a ceremony in Madrid, Spain.

     "The MOU covers six areas of co-operation in wine-related businesses,¡¨ Mrs Lau said.

     The six areas are promotion of trading in wine and related food items, holding international wine-related meetings or events in Hong Kong, investment promotion, education and manpower training, promotion of wine-related tourism and wine culture, as well as customs co-operation against counterfeit wine.

     Elaborating on the special features of the MOU, Mrs Lau said both sides agreed to work closely for a strong showing of Spanish wines and foods that go with wine (like ham, tapas and cheese) in the international wine fairs organised by the Trade Development Council annually in Hong Kong.

     "This will help enhance Hong Kong's position as a wine trading and distribution hub in Asia.

     "The two sides will also encourage the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, a network of eight internationally renowned wine-producing regions including Bilbao-Rioja of Spain, to hold their annual meetings or wine-related events in Hong Kong.  This forms part of our efforts to attract large-scale meetings and exhibition events to Hong Kong.

     "I trust that this MOU will help boost our bilateral wine trade with Spain, bringing economic benefits to Hong Kong," she said.

     Spain is the third-largest wine-producing country in the world and one of the main exporters of wine to Hong Kong.  Wine imports from Spain have increased in value by 49% in the five months since duty reduction in February this year, relative to the same period last year.

     The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSARG) signed an MOU on promotion of wine-related businesses with France and its Bordeaux region in August and October this year respectively.  The HKSARG is discussing similar co-operation with a few other countries.

Ends/Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Issued at HKT 19:09


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