The Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Timothy Tong, today (June 18) told wine traders and wine exhibitors in Bordeaux, France that Hong Kong was centrally located at the heart of Asia and was the gateway for international suppliers to explore the huge potential wine market in Asia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Vinexpo 2007 held in Bordeaux, Mr Tong said that re-export of wines to Mainland China had surged by 120 per cent, from 2.66 million litres in 2005 to 5.89 million litres in 2006.
Hong Kong's re-export of wines to other Asian countries, excluding Mainland China, also surged by 120 per cent, from 1.3 million litres in 2005 to 2.9 million litres in 2006.
Mr Tong told the wine traders that on February 28 this year, Hong Kong halved the duty on wines consumed locally, from 80 per cent to 40 per cent ad valorem. "Provisionally figures in May alone show that some 30 per cent more wines than same time last year are now being sold in Hong Kong - and finer wines too, " he said.
At the Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2006 held in Hong Kong, Customs and Excise Department set up a booth to offer advice to international wine traders on local duty system, the licensing and permit requirements for wine import and re-export.
Mr Tong was pleased to learn that the Vinexpo Asia-Pacific will be held in Hong Kong in May 2008. By that time, Hong Kong will be the only city outside France to hold the Vinexpo thrice.
Mr Tong is on duty visit to France and Holland from June 18 to 22. After officiating at the Vinexpo 2007, he will attend a meeting with the Head of Dutch Customs in Hague on co-operative issues of mutual concern from June 20 to 22.
Ends/Monday, June 18, 2007