United States President Barack Obama signed a bill Saturday while in Honolulu, Hawaii, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit. The “APEC business gold card” bill, as Obama labels it, intends to make it easier for U.S. business travelers to access Asia-Pacific nations more freely and quickly.
The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) allows pre-screened business travelers easier entry to most of the 21 APEC member economies. The card removes the hassle of individually applying for visas or entry permits for every visit. It also allows multiple short-term entries into participating economies during the three years the card is valid. Card holders also benefit from faster immigration processing via special APEC fast lanes at major airports.
The participating APEC member economies are: Australia, Brunei, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The legislation was unanimously approved by the Senate earlier this month after being introduced this summer by Sens. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
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