at the APEC Committee of Trade and Investment (CTI) meeting yesterday, the US sought stronger articles against software piracy for inclusion in the Hanoi APEC leaders’ declaration this November.
Delegates also worked to contribute to the declaration of the Ministers for Trade Conference (MRT) on Doha Development Agenda (DDA).
The implementation of the Busan business discussion attracted a lot of attention. Regarding the issue, the Malaysian delegation asked to use English as a standard language in all APEC business forums.
The Informal Experts’ Group on Business Mobility met for its last session to discuss the issue of the APEC business travel cards.
Holding the cards APEC business people could enter or leave an APEC member country with priority to complete immigration procedures. At most of major airports they are allowed to use special gates which are for APEC business people only. Visas for multiple entry are no longer needed for visits less than 60 days. Each card will be valid for three years.
To date 17 member countries have joined the program including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Hong kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The US has not joined yet.
According to the survey conducted by APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) from April 19th – May 10th this year, many cardholders found it useful and applauded the program.
However they also complained that the time to get a card issued is too long and they have to go through many different kinds of paperwork. Normally it would take a businessperson 3 months to get the card issued.
To date only 9,500 cards have been issued. In China so far 6,000 businesspeople have registered but only 1,000 businesspeople have received ABTC. Thailand has 3,000 applicants but only 600 cards.
Although Vietnam has joined the program, it has still been in the process of studying form other countries’ cases so no card has been issued for its people.