The U.S. Travel Association reports 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 (APEC) leaders’ summit in Honolulu.
At the summit, President Obama signed into law S.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, U.S. Travel says.
“This 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. “We congratulate the Administration and Congressional leaders... 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, U.S. Travel reports. 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.
“Global 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 U.S.”