Hong Kong wine buffs impressed by Slovenia
Slovenia is making its debut at the fair this year, featured as a guest country among 1,600 exhibitors from 36 countries. The Asian market represents a tenth of the global wine consumption.
Attending the fair's opening on the conclusion of his six-day official tour of China, Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan spoke about Slovenia's long wine-making tradition and the diversity of its wines.
On visiting the Slovenian pavilion, Benjamin Chau, the executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, ordered fortified wine.
The Slovenian pavilion features 16 wine makers as well as the Berryshka chocolate and liqueur maker and the Kocbek oil company. Some of them have already struck their first deals.
Židan today also held several bilateral meetings, including with Hong Kong's political leadership and the Food Safety Centre, which is considered one of the most stringent such authorities in the world.
The minister assessed the China visit as exceptionally successful, in that it reaffirmed the good political relationship and opened up opportunities for business cooperation.
He said that exports of food products meant more demand for domestic raw materials and higher prices, a trend that had been observed in growing prices of Slovenian wine sales.
Some wineries are already in a position where they could sell more wine than they are capable of producing, said the minister.
"I have also noticed in China that contracts have been made between Slovenian wineries and Chinese direct buyers or distributors customers."
The minister added that higher prices and better value performance were the only opportunity for Slovenia, given its limited production resources.
Referring to the EUR 350m deal recently signed by the Slovenian ultralight aircraft maker Pipistrel with its Chinese partner, Židan said Slovenia needed to focus, its asset being niche high-tech expertise.
He also sees major opportunities in tourism; people of Hong Kong are keen travellers and are looking for what Slovenia can offer - a clean environment, adventure, diversity of landscape and culinary offerings.
In agriculture, Slovenia is currently focusing on exports of wine and dairy products. Hong Kong is short on powdered milk, which Slovenia can provide, said the minister.
He also highlighted what he described as Slovenia's enhanced role in the 16+1 group of Central and Eastern European countries plus China, through the organisation of the agriculture ministerial next year.