Hong Kong signed on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in wine-related businesses with Hungary, the latest effort by the Asian city aspiring to become a regional hub for wine trading and distribution.
The MOU is the first trade-related agreement that Hong Kong has signed with Hungary. Under the agreement, the two sides will strengthen cooperation in the promotion of wine-related trading, investment, tourism and education and in the fight against counterfeit wine.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Hong Kong's Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Yvonne Choi said the agreement "further extends Hong Kong's network of co-operation with wine-producing countries on the promotion of wine-related businesses."
"Hungary produces quality wines. Wine exports from Hungary to Hong Kong increased by as much as 78 percent by value in 2008. We expect this trend to continue as Hungarian wines become more widely known and enjoyed here," she added.
The HKSAR government abolished import duties on wines and beer in February 2008.
According to official figures, during the one-year period after duty exemption, wine imports to Hong Kong grew to 3 billion HK dollars, representing a year-on-year increase of 83 percent. A total of 12 wine auctions, with a total sales of 360 million HK dollars, have been held in Hong Kong since then.
In addition to the MOU signed with Hungary, Hong Kong has since August last year entered into similar deals with five other wine producing countries or regions, namely France, Bordeaux, Spain, Australia and Italy.
(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2009)