LEWISTON — Hong Kong is a huge market, largely untapped, just waiting for Maine’s products, according to Steve Barclay, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade office.

“If you produce top-quality stuff at a decent price, I think there is considerable interest in Hong Kong,” he said. “We are rather keen on lobster and other high-quality seafood — and high-quality food, full stop.”

Barclay met with a group of 10 at the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce’s Lisbon Street office for lunch Thursday afternoon. He met with Matt Leonard, president and CEO of the chamber, Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council President John Holden and a few of local business owners.

“We import pretty much everything we consume,” Barclay said. “We don’t worry about imbalances in goods. If we did, we’d be naked and starving. We welcome goods, and we are looking for the best we can at the best price.”

At the end of his weeklong tour of New England, Barclay said he’s struck by the region. It reminds him of New Zealand, which is well marketed in Hong Kong.

“They will pay a premium to buy goods from a regime with good quality control and regulation, with a good reputation for health, clean, environmental,” he said. “What is Maine, if it does not fit that bill?”

There’s a lot of business at stake, he said. Hong Kong’s economy is built on services, meaning almost everything is imported.

“Last year, we had over 60 million business and tourism visitors, 40 million of those were from mainland China,” Barclay said. “They are by far the biggest daily per capita spenders and they represent the new, wealthy middle class in China who have a propensity to travel, propensity to spend and propensity to consume.”

English-speaking Hong Kong makes tapping into that market easier.

“If that’s the kind of market you are looking to get involved in, you could go into China and try and track them down — across 100 cities with more than 10 billion people. Not easy to navigate. Or you could go through the bottleneck of Hong Kong, where these people come to you.”

Leonard, who has been in charge of the Androscoggin chamber since May, said it was an opportunity to get acquainted with Barclay and with Hong Kong as market.

“It helps us realize some of the unknowns, learning about opportunities that we may not have known existed,” Leonard said.

Barclay was appointed director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York last August. It’s his job to promote and strengthen the business, trade and cultural ties between Hong Kong and 31 eastern states of the United States.

Barclay said he’s made it his goal to visit every state in his territory, something his predecessors might not have done. Most preferred to visit the large urban centers; Barclay said he’s more excited to tap markets like Maine.

“How likely would I be to get a chance to meet with the governor of New York?” he said. “Well, the dollar in Maine is the same as the dollar in New York.”

He met with Maine Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday morning before his Lewiston meeting.

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