Wednesday, 4 November 2015

HK channels wine flow in region

Financial Secretary John Tsang

Hong Kong runs the world's first accreditation scheme for wine storage facilities, and our Customs stands guard against counterfeit wines. Together, that adds up to confidence in the wine that we sell here in Hong Kong.


Trust, in turn, boosts trade. In 2014, we imported $8.4 billion worth of wine, up 5% over the previous year. We also re-exported $2.4 billion worth of wine over the same period. And that was up a whopping 52% over 2013 re-exports.


Those numbers mean business. They underline Hong Kong's standing as the region's wine hub, a position that we've held since I completely did away with the wine duty seven years ago.


More good news: We remain the world's largest wine auction centre, hammering home more than $800 million worth of wine last year.


Allow me here to revisit our re-exports, which, I believe, make some compelling points. Of the $2.4 billion in wine re-exports last year, $1.5 billion went to the Mainland of China, an increase of 87%, year on year.


From that startling upsurge, I draw three conclusions.


First, I see a growing demand on the Mainland, a healthy development of the hugely promising wine market at our doorstep.


Second, I see a growing Mainland preference for consuming wine from trendsetting Hong Kong. But more than following our vogue for wine, Mainlanders trust our taste, they trust our integrity.


And third, I see prodigious wine prospects under the visionary and far-reaching Belt & Road initiative spearheaded by President Xi of China.


For those of you not yet familiar with the Belt & Road, it promotes connectivity and the free flow of goods among more than 60 countries spanning Asia, Europe and Africa.


The ancient Silk Road carried wine to China centuries ago. Today, it is Hong Kong that channels the flow of wine. Our world-class infrastructure connects the Mainland and other Belt & Road economies, and well beyond. We open doors, we open bottles.


Let me share with you one last piece of news that I think is worth saluting.


We have expanded our customs facilitation scheme for wine entering the Mainland through Hong Kong. Wine now enjoys instant clearance when it goes from Hong Kong to Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou or Shenzhen.


Financial Secretary John Tsang gave these remarks at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.

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