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US join APEC Business Travel Card Scheme.

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Kevin Andrews MP Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

US join APEC Business Travel Card Scheme

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The United States today became the 18th country to sign up to the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme further boosting trade and investment across the APEC region.

The scheme provides for priority processing of business people holding the card, in APEC countries.

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Kevin Andrews, welcomed the American decision to become a transitional member of the scheme.

'I know that Australian business people welcome the increased ease of travel between the US and Australia,' said Mr Andrews.

'The decision by the US to join the scheme will contribute positively to our already strong commercial relationship and I am sure that US business people will soon appreciate the benefits of this scheme as much as the 10,000 Australian cardholders do.'

The scheme is managed on behalf of the APEC Business Mobility Group by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

A certificate of participation allowing the US to start issuing APEC travel cards was signed in Canberra by Assistant Commissioner for International Affairs and Trade Relations, US Customs and Border Protection, Michael C Mullen.

The card allows holders to transit through the airport quickly using a priority APEC immigration processing lane, often the lane used by aircrew and diplomats.

It also provides business visa pre-clearance valid for three years and multiple entries for a maximum stay of two months.

Card holders lodge one application with their home government and, once approved, may travel to other participating APEC economies without applying separately for visas.

There are 27,000 active card holders across the participating APEC economies.

The scheme is seen as a model of APEC multilateral cooperation combining facilitation of travel with enhanced security.

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URL: Last update: 04 September 2007 at 14:29 AEST