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Speech by PSCIT at signing ceremony of supplemental MOU between HK - Bordeaux on Co-operation in Wine-related Businesses (English only)

     Following is a speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Miss Yvonne Choi, at the signing ceremony of the supplemental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Hong Kong and Bordeaux on Co-operation in Wine-related Businesses today (May 25):

President Courbu, Vice President Faurens, Consul General Fonbaustier, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Bonjour, C'est un plaisir de vous revoir.

     I am delighted that so many friends from Bordeaux are able to join us for this occasion.

     I am particularly pleased that President Courbu is here today.  President Courbu and I signed our first co-operation agreement on wine in Bordeaux in 2008.

     The supplemental agreement that we are about to sign will further deepen our partnership in wine promotion.  Indeed, the value of wine imports from France has increased almost 160% since we exempted duties on wine in February 2008, reaching £á252 million from April 2009 to March 2010, or accounting for some 56% of our total wine imports by value.

     Let me also take this opportunity to thank French Consul General Monsieur Fonbaustier for playing a central role in our collaboration with France, including Bordeaux, on wine matters.

     Our connections with Bordeaux have grown significantly over the last two years.  I have had the privilege of visiting this legendary wine region twice on duty, each time making new friends and, of course, tasting great wines.

     The Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Bordeaux Chamber also shared the work and the joy of jointly organising the first Wine and Dine Festival held along our West Kowloon waterfront last year.  The event was partly modelled on the Bordeaux Wine Festival and was a great success.  Some 70,000 people attended the festival.

     This year's Wine and Dine Festival to be held from October 28 to 31 looks set to be even larger, more stylish and to make a greater impact than the first.  It will be held over four days, one day longer than last year, followed by a city-wide ¡§wine and dine month¡¨.  These events highlight our diverse culinary culture and showcase Hong Kong as a premier destination for visitors to enjoy fine food and wine.  Our tourism board stands ready to bring in more visitors from all over Asia to enjoy quality wines, canapˆms and fine cuisine from Bordeaux and around the world.

     Looking ahead, a new joint promotion initiative is the pairing of wine with Asian food.  This enriches our wine culture and capitalises on Hong Kong¡¦s strength as a gourmet centre for the region.  We will collaborate with Bordeaux through, for example, chef exchange programmes between our training institutions.

     Marketing wine also requires sound logistics.  The Bordeaux Chamber has been developing measures to help enhance traceability of wines from Bordeaux to distribution points including Hong Kong.  Bordeaux is carrying out research on technologies that may help with the authentication of wines.  We look forward to sharing our experiences in this area of technology.

     Ladies and gentlemen, Bordeaux is renowned for its quality wines and glorious winemaking history.  Our partnership has brought early success and inspired optimism for the future.

     The signing of this supplemental agreement signals a new phase of friendship and joint venture.  I look forward to even closer ties between Bordeaux¡¦s vineyards and Hong Kong¡¦s marketing outlets for our mutual benefit.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Issued at HKT 18:59


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