Commends The Obama Admin For Signing APEC Legislation
By Steve Hall
November 15, 2011 - The U.S. Travel Association
expressed its strong support for the robust travel
facilitation agenda pursued by the Obama Administration
as part of its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation leaders’ summit in Honolulu.
The U.S. Travel Association expressed its strong support
for the robust travel facilitation agenda pursued by the
Obama Administration as part of its hosting of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in
At the summit, President Obama signed into law H.R.1487, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act of 2011, which will allow U.S. business leaders access to the APEC Business Travel Card program (ABTC) to promote swift and secure travel across the Asia-Pacific region.
bill, U.S. Customs and Border Protection are authorized to issue
the ABTC to U.S. citizens as part of its Global Entry program.
Card holders will receive expedited scheduling of visa
interviews and access to fast-track immigration lanes at
airports in APEC's 21 economies.
common sense legislation is the type of ‘smart travel’
initiative necessary to boost economic productivity and show the
world we can secure international travel with risk management
tools,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel.
congratulate the Administration and Congressional leaders such
as Senators Maria Cantwell and Daniel Akaka, and Congressmen
Rick Larsen and Kevin Brady, in crafting a bipartisan bill to
bring the U.S. into the ABTC program.” In addition, the Obama
Administration announced the broader “APEC Travel Facilitation
Initiative” which will expand bilateral travel in the region.
Entry has been a major success for the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS), and we are excited to offer expedited and secure
travel to Asian visitors,” said Dow. “We urge DHS to continue to
expand its Global Entry network, including integration with the
recently-launched TSA Pre-Check program, and offer application
privileges to select foreign visitors who may generate
significant economic or international diplomacy benefits to the
The APEC Travel
Facilitation Initiative is a multi-year action plan for expediting the
flow of increasing numbers of passengers in the APEC region.
The Initiative focuses on promoting improvements in passenger
security screening on departure, as well as immigration and customs
processing on arrival; fostering regional adoption of best practices;
and pursuing “next generation” approaches to make the travel process
faster, easier, and more secure for travelers.
volume numbers expected to increase in the coming decades, these efforts
by APEC and the United States reflect the economic importance of travel
to and within the Asia Pacific region, the world’s biggest air passenger
market. According to the
International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines carried 647
million travelers across the region in 2009, with this number expected
to increase to one billion by 2014.
The number of air travelers globally is also projected to grow
from 2.4 billion in 2010 to 16 billion by 2050, with much of this growth
expected to occur in the Asia-Pacific region.
The U.S. and South
Korea set a target date of January 2012 for implementation of the
bilateral trusted traveler relationship where South Korean citizens can
apply for the U.S. Global Entry program and U.S. citizens can likewise
utilize the Korean Smart Entry System. Also, the U.S. announced the
intention to build a similar reciprocal agreement with Singapore.
The United States
will soon implement a Trusted Traveler arrangement with the Republic of
Korea and is working to establish a similar partnership with Singapore
in the near future. These
arrangements will allow eligible, pre-screened citizens to clear
immigration and customs expeditiously using automated kiosks when
traveling between the United States and these countries.
One of the long-term goals of the APEC Travel Facilitation
Initiative is to create a regional network of trusted traveler programs.
The United States
and the Republic of Korea will implement a bilateral trusted traveler
arrangement, with a target date of January 2012.
This arrangement, agreed between the two countries’ immigration
authorities last summer, would link the U.S. Global Entry Program and
Korea’s Smart Entry System, allowing eligible, pre-screened U.S. and
Korean citizens to clear immigration and customs expeditiously using
automated border gates when traveling between the two countries.
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