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New card should make travel easier in APEC countries

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:18 p.m. HST, Nov 12, 2011

President Barack Obama signed a bill today that should make it easier for Americans who travel in the Asia-Pacific region to get through immigration and customs 

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card Act authorizes the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to issue the APEC Business Travel Card. Americans who get the card will get expedited visas and access fast-track immigration lanes at airports in APEC's 21 economies.

The legislation is designed to make travel across the Asia-Pacific region easier, faster and more secure.

Obama also announced the country's commitment on bilateral "trusted traveler" cooperation agreements with the Republic of Korea and Singapore that could make it easier to travel to Hawaii from those countries.

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

The initiative is part of a multi-year plan to make it easier for passengers to travel in the APEC region, focusing on improvements in passenger security screening on departure, as well as immigration and customs processing on arrival. 

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