PSCIT's speech at "Wine at the heart of Bordeaux - Hong Kong relationship" press conference (English only) (with photo)

     Following is the speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Mr Andrew Wong, at the "Wine at the heart of Bordeaux - Hong Kong relationship" press conference today (October 28):

Consul-General, our Bordeaux friends, ladies and gentlemen,

     It is my great pleasure to join the French side today to celebrate our closer partnership on wine promotion with the Bordeaux region.

Wine and Dine Festival

     France has always been Hong Kong's top wine supplier. Imports of French wines have increased significantly since our duty exemption in 2008. China (including Hong Kong) is now Bordeaux's largest importing country by value. With the assistance of InvestHK, a number of renowned Bordeaux chateaux have recently set up offices in Hong Kong to promote their wine businesses.

     This morning, Mr Pierre Goguet of Bordeaux and I have just signed another supplemental co-operation agreement on wine promotion. This marks a new milestone for our close bilateral relationship.

     Thanks to the facilitation of the Consul-General, Hong Kong and France signed a wine co-operation agreement as early as 2008. We have since then signed two wine MOUs with Bordeaux, the first one in 2008 and a supplement last year. Building on our earlier successes, we are pleased to extend our collaboration on the organisation of the Wine and Dine Festival.

     In a matter of just three years, the Wine and Dine Festival has become a signature project. It is also one of the annual anchor events of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. We look forward to bringing in more wine lovers from Asia to try out Bordeaux and other French wines, among others, here in Hong Kong.

Bordeaux Wine Festival

     Our relationship with Bordeaux will soon move to new heights. The Hong Kong Tourism Board will showcase Hong Kong for the first time at the coming Bordeaux Wine Festival in June 2012. Hong Kong is privileged to be named as their "City of Honour". This is a fitting tribute to the mutually beneficial bonds of friendship that we have built up over the years.

     Mr Anthony Lau of the Hong Kong Tourism Board will tell you more about the above two events later.

Other areas of co-operation

     Our co-operation with Bordeaux goes beyond trading and promotional activities. We have close collaboration in areas including manpower training as well as the fight against wine counterfeits.

     For example, the Hong Kong Vocational Training Council has organised, with Bordeaux, chef exchange programmes to encourage culinary exchanges, and the sharing of knowledge about wine. The University of Hong Kong has also jointly organised a wine MBA course with the Bordeaux side.

     Besides, our Customs has maintained liaison with Bordeaux to keep themselves abreast of latest developments in technologies that help in wine authentication.

Way forward

     We look forward to celebrating our close partnership with Bordeaux and France on wine promotion and other fronts. Hong Kong stands ready to enhance our ties in such other areas as technology, arts and culture, tourism, food products and other finer things in life.

     I am confident that our close bilateral ties will bring us all further successes - and open up new opportunities! Thank you.

Ends/Friday, October 28, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:19