CHILE: Presidential tour of China opens door for Chilean wine

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Industry leaders are expecting Chilean President Ricardo Lagos's tour of China in mid-October to give them access to the so far untapped Chinese wine market.

Lagos's tour is a continuation of October's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Shanghai, China. The president took advantage of the summit and subsequent tour to negotiate free trade agreements with visiting president's and to open doors for Chilean exports in Asia.

Lagos was accompanied by a delegation of politicians and 27 business leaders. Among the business representatives were Andronico Luksic, whose Luksic group owns part of the Vina San Pedro winery, and Vina Itata general manager Rodrigo Garcia.

Garcia said the trip will help open up new export markets for Chilean industry and that the combined effort between the Chilean government and the business community made the China tour especially successful.

Industry leaders back home said the Chinese market, with some 1.3 billion inhabitants, is a possibility for development of the Chilean wine industry.

Chinese Ambassador to Chile Ren Jingyu said the Chilean businessmen visited China's Hebei province to negotiate several potential investment projects. The projects include plans for importing Chilean bulk wines, sale of Chilean wines in Chinese supermarkets and a joint Chinese-Chilean endeavor to sell wines to Japan and Korea.

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