SALEM, Ore. – The state of Oregon and Washington have entered into an agreement with the Hong Kong Commerce and Economic Development Bureau to promote the sale of Northwest wines into and through the Hong Kong market.
Hong Kong is now the second leading wholesale auction wine market in the world behind New York.
“Hong Kong has opened its door to the wine industry," said Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski in a prepared statement Monday. "And Oregon is the first on their doorstep to take advantage of this opportunity with a formal agreement."
Kulongoski said this agreement means "we now have a concerted effort to tap into the purchasing power of Hong Kong and all of China, which will create more business opportunities for Oregon’s wine industry.”
In 2008 Hong Kong abolished its import duty and taxes on wine, making it an even more desirable export market for wine. Since then, the Oregon Department of Agriculture – in partnership with the wine industry – has led efforts to open wine sales channels in the Hong Kong market.
With the agreement, Washington and Oregon wine distributors can participate in "a joint effort" to promote wine-related trade, tourism, investment and education, such as trade fairs and wine education seminars in Hong Kong.
"In addition to promotion in Hong Kong, Hong Kong buyers and media will also be encouraged to travel to Oregon for similar efforts," said the Governor's Office release.
Mainland China and Hong Kong also have reached an agreement on the wine trade, including an expedited customs process expected to drastically reduce processing time for wines moving from Hong Kong into the mainland of China.
In addition to wine, Hong Kong is a rapidly growing market for other Pacific Northwest agricultural products. For example, since 2006 Oregon food and agriculture exports to Hong Kong have increased by 150 percent. Those exports are valued at more than $50 million U.S. dollars – making Hong Kong the No. 8 destination for all Oregon agriculture exports.
The agreement comes as Oregon business leaders, state officials and Port of Portland officials are in Asia for a two-week trade mission. The goal of the meeting has been to promote the exporting of Oregon goods, importing of foreign goods, developing an electric vehicle market and continuing to recruit and retain businesses looking to relocate or expand in Oregon – particularly in the renewable energy sector.
A medical issue prevented Kulongoski from joining the state delegation in Asia.