Hong Kong signs Declaration of Intent on Co-operation in Wine-related Businesses with Germany (with photos)

     The signing of a Declaration of Intent on Co-operation in Wine-related Businesses between Hong Kong and Germany would doubtlessly help meet the aspirations of the wine industry in both places, the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Mr Andrew Wong, said today (May 29).

     Mr Wong signed the Declaration of Intent on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today with the visiting Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Peter Bleser.

     The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, and the Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Hong Kong, Mr Werner Hans Lauk, witnessed the signing ceremony.

     This Declaration will facilitate co-operation in exhibitions and wine fairs, auctioneering, storage, education, tourism and more.

     "We also look forward to sharing Hong Kong's own expertise and know-how that comes from being a major international business, logistics and financial centre on the doorstep of the Mainland," Mr Wong said.

     A special component in the Declaration relates to investment opportunities, including those under the framework of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).

     "Under CEPA, wines produced in Hong Kong from import grapes can enjoy zero tariffs on entry into the Mainland.

     "I encourage German winemakers and German companies to explore how they may be able to make use of the unique concessions under CEPA to expand their businesses into the Mainland," Mr Wong added.

     Since exemption of duties on wine in Hong Kong, Germany has been among the top 10 wine importing regions in Hong Kong. The value of German wine imports into Hong Kong leapt 173 per cent year on year in 2010 and a further 60 per cent last year.

     In addition to the Declaration of Intent signed with Germany, Hong Kong has since August 2008 entered into similar wine co-operation agreements with France (and its Bordeaux and Burgundy regions), Spain, Australia, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, New Zealand, the United States (and its Oregon and Washington states) and Chile.

Ends/Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:02