Speeches and Presentations

Speech by Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development at Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition award presentation ceremony

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition award presentation ceremony today (November 4):

Fred (Lam), Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening.

This must have been a very long day to you all, with so many activities going on in our wine fair. It is time to relax and drink in good company! Thank you for inviting me to this party to share the joy with you this evening.

As the Secretary looking after the wine business portfolio, or the "wine minister", I have had the privilege of representing Hong Kong in signing quite a number of co-operation agreements with wine producing countries. In the process, I have met many trade ministers and in some case agriculture ministers as well as renowned wine merchants around the world. They all see enormous potential and opportunities in Hong Kong in terms of wine trading and distribution business. That is well borne out by the vibrancy of the trading activities and enthusiasm that we witnessed today.

I congratulate the TDC on making this Wine Fair a success. Relative to our first fair in 2008, the much larger size of the Fair this year drives home a clear message: Hong Kong is fast establishing itself as a regional hub for wine trading and distribution.

The Fair is not limited to wine traders. There are also winemakers, storage companies, bottling firms as well as those showcasing wine-related accessories. We hope this has helped make your journey to the Fair a holistic experience, and rewarding as well in meeting your various business needs.

I am particularly delighted to be here today to celebrate with the winners of the inaugural Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition, the largest wine competition in Asia. The Asian focus of the competition makes this a unique one. The emphasis on matching wines with Chinese cuisine also highlights a niche area for Hong Kong. In future, when I have traditional Chinese food such as dim sum and Peking duck, I will certainly make reference to the outcome of the competition today when deciding the choice of wines.

Let us congratulate the winners of the competition tonight. You are all marvelous!

France is the partner country for the Wine Fair this year. And tonight is a French night. France is, of course, a leading and prestigious wine producing country in the world. It is also the largest supplier of wines to Hong Kong. Last year, I signed a promotional co-operation agreement with them. A wider range of French wines has reached our city. Their wine imports to Hong Kong in 2008 nearly doubled in terms of value!

We look forward to forging even more rewarding co-operation with our friends from France in the years to come, as well as partners from other wine producing countries.

So much for business. Ladies and gentlemen, relax and enjoy. With good food and great wines, let us make it a memorable evening for every one.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009