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Making business travel easier

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

MRS 78/96


A scheme making it easier for business people to travel to Australia and other countries within the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) region has been jointly launched by Australia, the Philippines and South Korea.

Ministers from the three countries announced at the APEC forum in Manila that they had agreed to trial the APEC Business Travel Card beginning early in 1997.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Mr Philip Ruddock, said today the APEC Business Travel Card would provide the equivalent of visa-free entry for business travellers and streamlined processing at airports.

Business leaders had been looking for ways to ease restrictions and barriers to business travel within the APEC region. The APEC Business Travel Card was a way of achieving this, Mr Ruddock said.

"The APEC Business Travel Card will be issued to accredited bona fide APEC business travellers from participating countries and will effectively pre-clear frequent travellers for entry into those countries," he said. "It will be the size of a credit card and will contain machine-readable features."

During the trial, key business people from Australia, the Philippines and Korea will use the card. More APEC countries are expected to consider adopting the card after the trial.

Mr Ruddock said the trial demonstrated an ongoing commitment by APEC countries to work together to respond to business needs in the region.

25 November 1996

Media inquiries: Steve Ingram 0419 278 715 (06) 277 7860 Karen Jones (06) 264 2183

Editors note: Steve Ingram can be contacted at Jardine Motel, Thursday Island ph: 070 691 555 until 10.30am (Eastern summer time) on Tuesday 26 November.