Budget Speech by the Financial Secretary
Duty on Alcoholic Beverages
I believe that reducing the duty on alcoholic beverages will help promote the development of our catering industry, tourism and wholesale and retail alcoholic beverage trade, thereby benefiting the community at large. I propose that the duty rate on beer and other types of liquor containing not more than 30 per cent of alcohol be reduced from the current 40 per cent to 20 per cent, and that on wine from the current 80 per cent to 40 per cent. These proposals take immediate effect, and will cost the Government about $350 million a year.
During the Budget consultation period, some people suggested that the Budget should be more visionary: for instance, the duty on alcoholic beverages should be abolished to boost economic activities, increase employment and promote the development of Hong Kong as the region's wine exhibition, trading and logistics centre. I am willing to consider this innovative idea further if it enjoys broad community support.
Duty-free Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverage Allowances
Currently, the duty-free quantities of tobacco and liquor that local residents are allowed to bring in when entering Hong Kong are not the same as for visitors. I propose to align them. I propose to raise the duty-free quantity of alcoholic beverages that Hong Kong residents may bring back from the current 750 millilitres of still wine to one litre and to apply this to all liquors. I propose, on the other hand, to reduce the quantity of duty-free tobacco that visitors are allowed to bring into Hong Kong to that for local residents. For example, the quantity of duty-free cigarettes for a visitor would be reduced from the current ten packets to three. These proposals will take effect after the relevant subsidiary legislation has been passed.