SCED begins visit to Chile
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, started his visit programme in Santiago, Chile yesterday (August 24, Santiago time) to foster economic and trade relations between Hong Kong and Chile.
Addressing the Chilean business community at a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Mr So said Chile is Hong Kong's second largest trading partner in South America.
"With the Central People's Government's policy of helping enterprises in the Mainland and Hong Kong to 'go global' together, we are confident that Hong Kong would remain the most important investment conduit for businesses in the Mainland. Chinese companies nowadays are very eager for opportunities to invest and establish a presence overseas. The potential investment from the Mainland to Chile through Hong Kong could be enormous," said Mr So.
Speaking of wine trade, Mr So said Hong Kong and Chile have long been close trading partners in wine, noting that Chile is Hong Kong's 5th largest wine importing origin by value, and 4th largest by volume.
He pointed out that Hong Kong is also the gateway to the growing wine market in the Mainland. Since the signing of the Chile-China Free Trade Agreement in 2006, the Mainland's demand for Chilean wine has leaped, so has re-exports through Hong Kong which has increased over 10 times to US$ 5.6 million in 2014. There is much room for further expanding wine trade between Hong Kong and Chile given the growing demand for wine from the Mainland.
On the same day, Mr So met with the Minister of Agriculture of Chile, Mr Carlos Furche; the Under Secretary of Finance of Chile, Mr Alejandro Micco; and the President of the China-Chile Committee for Political Dialogue of the Chilean National Congress, Mr Roberto Ramirez. During the meetings, Mr So discussed with them issues relating to Hong Kong-Chile economic and trade prospects, wine co-operation, Hong Kong's role as a "super-connector" between Chile and Asia, as well as the Belt and Road initiatives. In the evening, Mr So had a dinner with the Chinese Ambassador to Chile, Mr Li Baorong.
Mr So will continue his visit to Santiago today (August 25, Santiago time), attending a luncheon hosted by the Chilean business sector and meeting with members of the business sector in Santiago. He will also visit Casablanca and Valparaíso.
Ends/Tuesday, August 25, 2015