We started the day at the USDA Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) with a briefing on the role of Hong Kong in agricultural trade by ATO Director, Eric Kuss. Director Kuss provided many facts about Hong Kong including the fact it is the third largest container port in the world and that it is within a five hour plane ride to half of the world’s population.
Next, Mr. Jean Yues Chow, a Senior Industry Analyst for Northeast Asia with Rabobank International, gave an overview of Rabobank International and the Asian Region. Rabobank is a co-operative bank that started in 1898 and is the world’s highest rated privately owned bank. Mr. Chow discussed Rabobank’s idea that there are four “F” factors that are currently affecting the price of commodities- food, fuel, feed and funds. He also mentioned that global meat demand will increase 40% over the next 20 years and 70# of this grown will come from Asia.
We also listed to Mr. Andrew Nissen, Economist Unit Chief from the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, talk about the RMB Clearance process. Mr. Nissen said that it might be 10 or 15 years before RMB is fully convertible.
Next, we traveled to Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT) and saw an overview of their massive container port operation with a tour of their highly computerized control tower featuring their own proprietary software and video monitoring system that efficiently managers their container yard. The average ship is only in their berth for about 15 hours from the time they start unloading to being reloaded. Currently, the largest ships in the world can carry up to 15,500 containers at one time. After a late lunch, we traveled to Hong Kong International Airport and finally caught out flight to Beijing after a few hours of delay.