A coalition representing the hospitality industry wants the wine duty scrapped to help Hong Kong become the region's first fine-wine trading hub. The Hong Kong Wine and Spirits Industry Coalition also wants the tax on spirits halved. The coalition says removing the 40 per cent duty on wine would generate at least HK$4 billion a year in sales and related businesses, such as wine storage and fine-wine auctions. It says auction house Christie's is keen to start wine auctions in Hong Kong if the duty is abolished. Most of the HK$3 billion-a-year international fine-wine auction business is conducted in New York and London. The London International Vintners Exchange, which provides an electronic trading platform for wine merchants, is also interested in setting up shop in Hong Kong but is concerned about grey- and black-market activity. It said doing away with duty would vastly reduce the problem. The coalition submitted its recommendations to the government on Monday. A Treasury Bureau spokesman said the coalition's views and proposals would be considered when preparing the 2008-09 budget. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah will deliver his maiden budget speech on February 27 and is expected to announce a surplus of more than HK$100 billion. 'Abolishing wine duties would be a catalyst in making the city Asia's first wine hub,' said Boris de Vroomen, managing director of Moet Hennessy Diageo Hong Kong and chairman of the coalition, which represents more than 80 alcohol brands. Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, the Liberal Party legislator who represents the catering industry, said Hong Kong could benefit from such a move because the mainland was expected to become the world's biggest wine market in the next decade. The coalition says scrapping wine duty should save drinkers 22 per cent.