Date
18 December 2017
US President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the APEC forum in Beijing on Monday. Photo: Reuters
US President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the APEC forum in Beijing on Monday. Photo: Reuters

China, US to extend visa validity to boost trade, tourism

China and the United States have agreed to significantly extend the terms of short-term visas in a bid to improve trade and business ties between the world’s two largest economies.

Under the deal, both countries would extend the terms of multiple entry short-term tourist and business visas to 10 years from one year, while student visas would be extended to five years from one year, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the White House. The new arrangement will take effect in the US on Wednesday.

“As a result of this arrangement, the United States hopes to welcome a growing share of eligible Chinese travelers, inject billions [of dollars] in the US economy and create enough demand to support hundreds of thousands of additional US jobs,” the statement said.

US President Barack Obama made the announcement to business leaders during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum after arriving in Beijing on the first leg of an eight-day Asia tour on Monday.

The extension of some visas for Chinese nationals to 10 years matches what is currently allowed for those from nations with close relations with the US, such as European countries and Brazil, the report said.

A senior US official said the visa agreement would allow the US to boost its share of the fast-growing market of Chinese tourists traveling abroad. It now attracts only 2 percent of Chinese tourists.

“We see this as a really big win,” the official said, estimating that the US could gain 440,000 jobs by 2021 and receive an US$85 billion annual infusion into the economy as a result of the new policy.

It will also make it easier for Chinese businesses and investors to get involved in US projects, the official added.

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CG

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