US, China reach deal on visas

10 Nov 14

CHINA, UNITED STATES

President Barack Obama announced Monday that the U.S. has reached a reciprocal agreement with China to ease visas for business visitors, tourists and students.

Obama revealed the visa deal in a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

“I’m very pleased to announce that during my visit the United States and China have agreed to implement a new arrangement for visas that will benefit everyone from students to tourists to businesses large and small,” the President said.

Under the agreement, business visitors and tourist visas between the two countries will be good for 10 years and student and exchange visas will be extended to five years. Currently, visas are valid for one year.

Obama touted the deal as a benefit to business visitors “going back and forth all the time,” as well as a boost to jobs, trade, investment and tourism, noting that last year 1.8 million Chinese visitors to the U.S. contributed $21 billion to the American economy and supported more than 100,000 jobs.

“I’ve heard from American business leaders about how valuable this step will be,” Obama said. “And we’ve worked hard to achieve this outcome because it clearly serves the mutual interest of both of our countries.”

BAL Analysis: The arrangement will significantly improve visa procedures and facilitate travel between the two countries by eliminating the need for annual renewals for frequent travelers.

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