HONG KONG, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong and New Zealand signed an agreement to cooperate on wine-related business here on Wednesday, in a bid to bolster Hong Kong's development as regional wine trading and distribution hub.
The agreement, namely an Arrangement for Co-operation on Wine-related business, was signed by Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau and New Zealand Trade Minister and Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Tim Groser who is visiting Hong Kong.
Under the agreement, the two sides will strengthen cooperation in the promotion of wine-related trading, investment, tourism and education and in the fight against counterfeit wine.
The two sides will also share trade-related information such as market conditions to facilitate trade and business promotion activities, share information and experience on sustainably produced wines in New Zealand, and step up cooperation, where possible, in international organizations where both Hong Kong and New Zealand participate.
Lau said New Zealand was Hong Kong's tenth largest source of wine imports and the signing of the cooperation arrangement would benefit the economies of both Hong Kong and New Zealand.
"The arrangement will also fortify Hong Kong's development as a regional hub for wine trading and distribution and at the same time, enhance its role as an efficient and reliable avenue for New Zealand to grow its wine exports to the Mainland and throughout East Asia," she added.
Hong Kong became the first free wine port among major economies when the Financial Secretary eliminated wine duties in his Budget last year. In the year ending March 2009, the value of wine imports into Hong Kong has increased 80 percent to 3.198 billion Hong Kong dollars year-on-year.
A total of 10 wine auctions have been held so far this year, and companies are fast expanding their storage facilities and trading and distribution businesses here.
Since August last year, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has signed six similar agreements with France, Bordeaux of France, Spain, Australia, Italy and Hungary.
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