HK-US MOU on wine marks closer bilateral ties (with photos/video)

     The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, today (May 17) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in Wine-related Businesses (MOU) with the visiting Secretary of Commerce of the United States, Mr Gary Locke.

     Secretary Locke is leading the first cabinet-level trade mission to Asia by President Obama's administration with Hong Kong being the first stop.

     Addressing a luncheon in honour of Secretary Locke, Mrs Lau said Hong Kong and the US had been maintaining healthy and robust bilateral business relations, and Secretary Locke's visit would be a great encouragement for both communities to work towards even stronger bilateral relations and to explore new areas for collaboration.

     The signing of the MOU on wine marked an important milestone in closer bilateral ties and business co-operation between the two places, she said.

     "Today, our relationship with the US takes another major step forward. Riding on this MOU, we will strengthen our joint efforts on promoting wine-related trading, tourism, investment and education.

     "The MOU also covers a number of special areas. These include promoting wine alongside regional and local cuisine, facilitating the organisation of wine auctions in Hong Kong for US wines, and encouraging the provision of quality wine storage facilities in Hong Kong," Mrs Lau said.

     As one of the world's leading wine producers and exporters, the US is Hong Kong's fourth largest wine importer. Wine imports from the US amounted to US$49 million in 2009-2010, representing a five-fold increase since Hong Kong's duty exemption. US auction houses have also held regular wine auctions in Hong Kong with record-breaking sales on several occasions.

     The MOU on wine between Hong Kong and the US is the eighth co-operative agreement concluded by Hong Kong with wine producing countries/regions, coming after those with France, Bordeaux, Spain, Australia, Italy, Hungary and New Zealand.  

Ends/Monday, May 17, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:39