Communications and External Affairs Committee Workshop on beef from Colombia (18 September 2023)

On 18 September 2023, the Communications and External Affairs Com-mittee of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ and Exporters’ Association (HKCIEA) held the Workshop on Colombian Exports to Hong Kong and Mainland China. A delegation of the Colombian Consulate in Hong Kong visited HKCIEA. Both sides had an extensive discussion on Colombia in-creasing exports of beef to Hong Kong and the mainland.

People attending the workshop were Kenneth Lee Fung-nin, HKCIEA Executive Director and President of HKCIEA’s Communications and Exter-nal Affairs Committee, Ricky Au Young Wing-kei, Vice President of the committee, Desmond Cheung Chung-fu, HKCIEA Director and Vice Presi-dent of HKCIEA’s Social Affairs Committee, as well as other representatives of HKCIEA and other businesses in Hong Kong. The visiting guests were Mr. Luis Fernando Orozco Barrera, Consul General of Colombia in Hong Kong, Mr. Oscar Rueda, Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Colombia in China and a representative of the Colombian Trade, Investment and Tour-ism Bureau, as well as delegates representing Colombia’s beef industry and business community.

At the workshop, Lee pointed out that during the pandemic, imports of beef into Hong Kong rose from 281,000 tons in 2019 to 366,000 tons in 2020, representing an increase of 30 percent. During the period, per capita con-sumption of beef in Hong Kong was 48.7 kilograms. Beef and beef products in Hong Kong mainly come from Brazil, Australia, the US and New Zealand. In terms of fresh beef, Hong Kong imported 1,000 tons in 2020, with main-land China, Australia and Brazil being the three leading sources.

Lee added that the beef manufacturing sector in Hong Kong has been relentlessly looking for multiple sources of high-quality beef, so as to make the local supply chain more diversified, reliable and responsive to consumer demand. Between 2010 and 2020, Colombia’s beef production had doubled. In 2020, its market share in South America reached 13 percent. Lee noted that beef products from Colombia are of a high standard in terms of quality, food safety, sustainability and innovation. Therefore, in terms of Hong Kong increasing its beef imports from Colombia, there is much room for collabora-tion.

During the workshop, the Colombian guests explained in details the current situation and investment environment of Colombia. They stressed that Colombia is an agricultural and food powerhouse in South America, ranking number one in terms of output of various agricultural products and food products. The country is committed to expanding its agricultural sector and at the same time switching to unconventional energy sources, such as solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, geothermal resources and green hydrogen. Colombia is also striving to reduce deforestation and enhance the sustainability of its natural resources and related industries. In 2022, Colom-bia exported a record-high amount of non-energy mineral products to China, amounting to US$144 million. Currently, dozens of large Chinese companies such as Huawei, BYD, and Sinopec have investments in Colombia. The trade relations China and Colombia are getting stronger. Hopefully, Colombia will also strengthen its economic and trade ties with Hong Kong.

During the Q&A session of the workshop, delegates of the Communica-tions and External Affairs Committee mentioned a number of concerns re-lated to beef trade. The Colombian visitors gave detailed explanations on the areas they were responsible for. Both sides agreed to stay in touch and pro-mote substantial progress on the related matters.

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