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HK wine exporters open doors to China

The eighth Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) International Wine and Spirits Fair has begun with the spotlight put on the city’s role as a re-exporter to Mainland China.

Opened this morning (5 November) at the Exhibition and Convention Centre, John Tsang, financial secretary for the HKSAR Government, gave a brief overview of the state of the Hong Kong wine market at his opening address to the media.

He reported that wine imports to Hong Kong rose 5% by value from 2013 to 2014, to HK$8.4 billion, while HK$800m worth of wine was sold at auction last year. Little was said further about the city’s own wine drinking scene but Tsang placed special emphasis on Hong Kong’s position as a hub, particularly with regards re-exports to the mainland.

He said that HK$2.4bn worth of wine had been re-exported in 2014 a 52% increase on 2013, 60% of it to greater China, a rise of 86% on 2013. As of January-September of this year, that share of re-exports to China has risen to 82% and the value of re-exports is already standing at HK$3.2bn according to the HKTDC.

Although not mentioned at the opening ceremony, re-exports to Vietnam also rose greatly last year (from a very small base) and slightly for Macau. However re-exports to the increasingly vibrant wine markets of Singapore and Taiwan fell 27.8% and 14.9% respectively between 2013 and 2014.

Tsang said he was, “pleased to note” that Hong Kong’s wine storage accreditation scheme and rigorous customs checks against counterfeit wines was breeding trust in China for wines that had passed through Hong Kong, as well as the ease with which wines can now cross the border thanks to a customs deal struck last year.

“Trust breeds business,” he said. “[China] trusts in Hong Kong as a wine hub. Hong Kong will channel the flow of wine to China. We open doors, we open bottles.”

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