US business hails progress on APEC travel card


Amid signs that US business figures in Asia will soon be able to carry the APEC travelcard, commerce leaders have presented an award to the congressional sponsors of the legislation which enacted the move.

APCAC presents this award annually to honour an individual who has made outstanding contributions in furthering US business interests in the Asia-Pacific region.  

The recipients of the ABTC Bipartisan Congressional Leaderships awards were Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA).

APCAC said the awards were presented because it “believes very strongly in recognising the bipartisan Congressional leaders who led the effort to introduce legislation enabling issuance of the APEC Business Travel Card for US citizens”.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Cards Act of 2011, signed into law by President Obama, will allow American business and government personnel traveling to the Asia-Pacific region access to expedited visa processing and designated airport travel lanes.

During the Doorknock, APCAC leaders met with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials responsible for issuing the implementing regulations that must be published before the cards can be issued.

Steven R. Okun, chairman of APCAC, said: “Access to business travel cards will significantly enhance business travel, investment, and trade opportunities for U.S. citizens in the rapidly growing economies in the APEC region. From our meetings on the Hill and with DHS, we are very hopeful that these cards will be issued prior to the APEC 2013 Leaders meeting in Bali, Indonesia this coming October. The leadership of Democrats and Republicans working together on Capitol Hill show that advancing US business interest in Asia is bipartisan.”

Businesspeople of 18 APEC economies can already use the ABTC, including for entering the US via special immigration lanes. US citizens do not have those reciprocal rights. When the final rules are issued, the Department of Homeland Security will be able to distribute ABTCs to US citizens.

Then, American business travelers will have reciprocal treatment in participating countries, and this will encourage seamless travel and promote trade in services in the APEC region, and bring direct economic benefit back to the US.

APCAC, which comprises 27 member AmChams from across the entire Asia Pacific region, is the key organization representing the overall interests of the US business community based in Asia.

AmChams that comprise APCAC represent the growing interests of over 50,000 executives and over 10,000 businesses in the region. The APCAC membership manages trade volumes in excess of US$ 400 billion and direct investments (FDI) of nearly US$ 300 billion.

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