Fast and efficient travel for business people within the APEC region contributes to APEC's goal of free and open trade and investment. To this end APEC has created an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). The ABTC allows business travelers pre-cleared, facilitated short-term entry to participating member economies. The ABTC removes the need to individually apply for visas or entry permits, saving valuable time, and allows multiple entries into participating economies during the three years the card is valid. Card holders also benefit from faster immigration processing on arrival via access to fast-track entry and exit through special APEC lanes at major airports in participating economies.
The ABTC also helps to enhance border integrity and security in participating economies by providing benefits to border agencies as it increases the number of low risk travelers since each applicant is checked against 'watch lists' of other participating economies. Therefore, it carries savings not only for business people but for governments, too.
APEC Member Economies fully participating in the scheme include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
Canada, Russian Federation, and the United States are transitional member of the scheme. Canada is still working towards issuing cards to its own citizens. Russia is making final preparation before actual launching the card and will invite applications from Russian business people. The United States have passed the legislation allowing the issuance of ABTCs to their own citizens. Under the bill, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is authorized to issue the ABTC to U.S. citizens as part of its Global Entry program. Since the creation of the scheme, in 1997, data indicates that the growth rate has continued to accelerate steadily. In 2007 the increase in applications received by the participating economies was more than 100% on a year-on-year basis. By March 2008, the active number of cards was more than 34,000, with the highest share reported by Australia (nearly 40% of the total amount issued).
The APEC Business Travel Card is an initiative of the APEC Business Mobility Group.
"We recognize the need for business people to move quickly between APEC economies when pursuing trade and investment opportunities."
To know more about the ABTC scheme, please click here.
To view a summary of the ABTC scheme, please click here.