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New law will speed business travel to Asia

By Kristen Consillio

LAST UPDATED: 05:46 a.m. HST, Nov 13, 2011

President Barack Obama signed a bill Saturday that should make it easier for American business travelers to visit countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act enables U.S. business and government travelers that have been screened, are not security risks and have an APEC card to obtain expedited visas, use the same customs lanes as air crews at airports and take multiple trips to most of the other 20 APEC nations for three years without having to get a new visa each time.

"This is going to help our whole state to further the relationships that we've developed this week," said Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz. "Face-to-face contact is the way to build these relationships, so we have to ease travel restrictions wherever possible."

The legislation, introduced by Hawaii Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, was touted as a measure that will spur job growth and partnerships between APEC countries by making travel across the Asia-Pacific region easier, faster and more secure.

Participating APEC nations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Taipei, Thailand and Vietnam, according to the APEC website.

The APEC Business Travel Card program was started in 1997.

Obama also announced the country's commitment to bilateral "trusted traveler" cooperation agreements with the Republic of Korea and Singapore that could translate into more visitors to Hawaii from those countries.

"This is just the beginning. Over time we're working very hard to make it easier for our neighbors throughout the Asia-Pacific region to come to America for business or vacation and that will benefit our economy," Schatz added.

The program will allow eligible U.S., Korean and Singaporean citizens to clear immigration and customs faster using automated border gates.

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livinginhawaii wrote:
The guy in th ephoto looks familiar - who is he?
on November 13,2011 | 02:33AM
Anonymous wrote:
Is that the best shirt Schatz owns?
on November 13,2011 | 08:34AM
cojef wrote:
Looks like "maple leaf" which is not Hawaiian flavor, but more like Canadian.
on November 13,2011 | 10:27AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Look at the way he is holding the Mic. Like a pro. Just Grab It. man.
on November 13,2011 | 02:02PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Even I get some Kahalas. LOL
on November 13,2011 | 02:02PM
wiliki wrote:
Looks like our people in Congress are doing their jobs well. This means a lot for our local economy.
on November 13,2011 | 06:52AM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 13,2011 | 07:10AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
LOL, WHAT ARE T P O U R I S T S !!!! Oh I get it you so much in a rush that u did not proofread. I know it is tourists. Put up or shut up. Imagine if the HSA allowed maybe three or four of those to go to print. LOL.
on November 13,2011 | 02:00PM
wiliki wrote:
Business travelers make up a great fraction of travel and also play tourist with their millage from the airlines. Hawaii is a good stop on the way to the mainland to work on jet lag. Lots of advantages to stopping off in Hawaii.
on November 13,2011 | 03:14PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Are we so backward a State that we need to micro-manage the private sector so much as to ENFORCE business activity by "REQUIRING" people to go overseas for business meetings? Did not someone invent Video Teleconferencing, such as Cisco TelePresence. LOL. Brian, please shape up or ship out.
on November 13,2011 | 08:11AM
cojef wrote:
Agree with modern conveniences, but we need to generate tourist traffic, and that means face face meetings. Beta fo loko buzns.
on November 13,2011 | 10:25AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Face to Face. Oh, I get it. The Honolulu Convention Center. or was It named The Hawaii Convention Center. Whichever, it is under the jurisdiction of the State, and that if the dignitaries of the Pacific Rim see Hawaii can offer as far as Convention facilities, then more tourists would intend on Making Hawaii their destination of choice, while inconveniencing The corner Mom and Pop, what price is more precious that just this one week of inconvenience to draw millions of dollars into this State. Now was that not eloquently put. No, Neil did not tell me to type this. It is from the bottom of my heart as person who studied or that is to say, learned how to peruse a Financial Report of a company to see if it is worthy of my hard earned Investment Dollar. In other words, Neil, why have you not eased the concerns of these Small Business People who may not know the value of "ADVERTISEMENT" which is a payment of either monetary value, or of extreme goodwill. LAUGH OUT LOUD. You guys selling knick knacks at the corner Mom and Pop do not pay the State any taxes either, so SHUT UP !!!!!! LOL Last time I heard, the term for people of that nature was HAVING THEIR CAKE AND EATING IT TOO !!!
on November 13,2011 | 01:57PM
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