Hong Kong has been making a concerted effort to promote the wine industry within its borders. The Hong Kong Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) began signing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with wine producing regions in August of 2008 when it signed an MOU with France. This followed Hong Kong’s abolition of the wine tax, which opened up the market considerably to foreign producers. The MOUs piggy-backed on the 0% wine tax by addressing additional wine industry concerns, including fraud, storage and handling, education, promotion of wine tourism, and investment and cooperation in industry trade events. Since signing with France, the CEDB has signed similar MOUs with Bordeaux, Spain, Australia, Italy, Hungary and New Zealand, and has renewed its official support for its wine industry initiative.
In February of 2010, the CEDB took another step forward when it signed a cooperation agreement with China regarding wine entering the mainland through Hong Kong. This agreement puts in place a voluntary registration system that seeks to streamline the process of importing wine from Hong Kong, and in the process sets Hong Kong up as a gateway for foreign wine entering China, which as we all know is an important and growing market.
The CEDB’s activity has finally reached the U.S. – in May of this year it signed an MOU with the U.S. and a joint MOU with Washington and Oregon. Not only does this continue efforts that regional organizations have been making to promote Northwest wine in Asia, but it is yet another acknowledgment of how important this region is becoming in the global wine economy.