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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Signs Agreement Promoting U.S. Wines in Hong Kong and Asia

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, May 17, 2010

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Commerce Department Gary Locke Signs Agreement Promoting U.S. Wines in Hong Kong and Asia

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Hong Kong Commerce and Economic Development Bureau Secretary Rita Lau signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today on Cooperation in Wine-Related Businesses on behalf of the U.S. and Hong Kong governments. The agreement, which was signed during a ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, will support the marketing and promotion of U.S. wines in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also signed the MOU.

“The United States is one of the leading wine-producing countries in the world, and American wines have been growing in stature internationally for decades as people around the world have learned what American wine producers and consumers have known for years: American wines are outstanding,” Locke said. “Working with the Hong Kong government, we want to create opportunities to heighten exposure to American wines in Hong Kong and the region. This MOU will help do just that.”

In 2008, Hong Kong eliminated its 80 percent excise tax on wine, contributing to its emergence as an Asian hub for wine consumption, auctioning and cellaring. According to U.S. trade data, U.S. wine exports to Hong Kong soared 185 percent in the first nine months of 2009, compared to the same period the year before. The surge in wine exports has made Hong Kong the fastest-growing and fourth-largest U.S. wine export market behind Canada, the European Union and Japan.

“We look forward to working together to promote American wines, culinary travel and tourism, education, wine logistical services, and wine-related goods and services through trade events, business matchmaking and awareness campaigns with Hong Kong’s hospitality industry,” Locke added.

Locke is in Hong Kong leading a business development trade mission with 24 U.S. companies to promote U.S. clean energy technologies in Asia.  The mission, which will also stop in Shanghai and Beijing, as well as Jakarta, Indonesia, aims to promote U.S. exports of leading technologies related to clean energy, energy efficiency, and electric energy storage, transmission and distribution.

The trade mission aims to advance President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which is focused on doubling U.S. exports within five years to support job growth.