APEC Business Travel Card Introduction
APEC Card Scheme
After APEC was formed, in order to strengthen intra-regional economic cooperation and promote unrestricted flow of business people, the Philippines, Korea and Australia launched APEC Business Travel Card Scheme on Philippine Informal APEC Leaders Meeting in November, 1996 and proposed to provide multilateral long-term visa and fast custom entry service(all economic entities set APEC travel card specific custom entry channel at their frontier ports) for business people from economic entities which joined the scheme. In 1997, the schemed was started to be implemented.
APEC Travel Card Operation Framework is the basic document of travel card scheme, regulating the operation methods of the scheme. Except Hong Kong, economic entities which joined the scheme only accept the application from their own citizens. Applicant of Hong Kong shall own permanent residence identity of Hong Kong, no nationality is required. Applicant of the card shall have no crime record.
Until now, 21 APEC economic entities have joined the scheme. Those entities are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippine, Russia, Singapore, China Taiwan, Thailand, America and Vietnam. Among those entities, America and Canada are transitional members currently which don’t accept travel card application from other entities but provide visa application and custom entry-exit convenience for applicants from other economic entities.
Implementation Situation of China
In October, 2001, Chinese Government announced to join APEC business travel card scheme. Personnel exchange among mainland, China Hong Kong and China Taiwan still followed the original methods and travel card was not accepted.
At the first APEC Senior Officials Meeting in 2002, Deputy Foreign Minister Li Jinzhang who was the ambassador of China in Mexico at that moment signed the exchange of documents with APEC business people mobile expert group that China joined and complied with the APEC Business Travel Card Operation Framework and officially joined travel card scheme.
In December of 2003, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Department started to accept travel card application. In March of 2004, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Department started to issue travel card.
According to relevant regulations, the Chinese citizens who are qualified to apply for APEC business travel card are: (1)Government officials dealing with APEC affairs, government officials being responsible for travel card issues and Chinese officials working in APEC organizations. (2) Management personnel, major business personnel and technical personnel of state-owned key enterprises. (3) Personnel of local state-owned enterprises. (4) Personnel of private enterprises. (5) Chinese personnel (Mainland) of Sino-foreign joint ventures, foreign invested enterprises and Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan invested enterprises. The personnel mentioned above shall hold passport of People’s Republic of China, go to APEC economic entities due to work demand, has no crime record or no visa rejection record of other countries especially economic entities which are implementing travel card scheme.