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Hong Kong signs MOU with Italy on co-operation in wine-related businesses (with photos)

     The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, today (May 14) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Co-operation in Wine-Related Businesses with the Italian Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Mr Luca Zaia, in Rome, Italy.

     Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mrs Lau said Italy was the world's largest wine exporter.  In Hong Kong, Italian wines were getting more popular, with its import value registering year-on-year growth of 40% in 2008.

     The co-operation agreement would give impetus to industry players of both places to explore market opportunities across Asia and further buttress Hong Kong's position as a regional hub for wine trading and distribution, she said.

     "The MOU would forge closer co-operation between Hong Kong and Italy in a wide range of areas, including the promotion of wine trading, investment, wine-related tourism as well as wine education and appreciation.

     "Specifically, the two sides will work closely to engender a good showing of Italian wines and canapˆms, wine accessories, as well as wine-making technology and equipment in the annual international wine fairs organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC).

     "We will also encourage the relevant agency of Italy to organise wine-related roadshow exhibitions in Hong Kong.

     "I am delighted that Vinitaly, the leading wine exhibition in Italy, is planning to stage the first wine roadshow in Hong Kong, as part of TDC's annual wine fair in November," Mrs Lau said.

     To showcase Hong Kong as a gastronomic destination and a city for wine, Mrs Lau said the Hong Kong Tourism Board would also be holding the first "Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival".  Italian wine companies are most welcome to join, she said.

     "The signing of the MOU represents a new chapter in our long and strong trade relations with Italy, already covering many areas like fashion, leather goods and textiles," she added.

     The MOU signed with Italy today is Hong Kong's fifth such memorandum,  after those with France, Bordeaux, Spain and Australia.

Ends/Thursday, May 14, 2009
Issued at HKT 17:58


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