Datuk R Ramanan

Immigration clearance is usually quite the hassle and can take a lengthy process for visitor passes to be approved. This daunting but required visa application process is generally to ensure safe travel along with the proper procedure is observed and afforded to all. Then again, this time-consuming, although vital process, may just impede business connections. This is where the Asia Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Business Travel Card makes things far simpler.

The APEC Business Travel Card is created for businesses to provide them a particular degree of convenience while travelling. Participating countries have worked closer together in making this program possible with the mutual goal to create a network for investment opportunities and encourage free trade among its participating nations. The APEC Business Travel Card enables companies to have their short-term entry cleared earlier once they visit participating countries. Accordingly, excessive regulations that slows down the process can be avoided.

Individuals skip the entire process of being required to apply for visas and entry permits under personal travel permits and will be able to utilise this multi entry passes to enter participating countries on arrival through exclusive APEC lanes.

Datuk R. Ramanan

gave his full support to this very framework, and even applauded the Immigration Department of Malaysia for the proactive method to promote the growth and expansion of the economy at the national level with such a practical solution.

According to Datuk R. Ramanan, he condones the APEC Business Travel Card initiative given it increased the opportunities for Malaysian entrepreneurs to venture into other international markets within the region. Now, businesses can reap the rewards, and it is all possible because of the great commitment shown by the officers to visit the member countries to nurture good relationship and subsequently bring ease that will be enjoyed by Malaysians.

Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, China, South Korea, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, New Zealand, Russia, Australia, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, and Chile are at this moment among the participating countries of the APEC scheme. In the meantime, USA and Canada have joined the pact as transitional members.

Since the majority governments impose strict bureaucratic regulations, the scheme has bring a substantial impact to Malaysia. Entry into China, as an example, requires advance application to be made, be it a business travel re-entries or just a social pass.

A research done by the APEC Policy Support Unit recently finds that the APEC Business Travel Card scheme has resulted to a large transaction cost reduction, that is up to 38% which previously had to be borne by the card owners. This explains that the program didn’t only assist to minimise waiting time, but actual cost related to travel. In approximation, between the period of March 2010 until July 2011, a total of 62,413 hours was saved by the pass holders, which equates to to USD 1.9 million in estimate value.

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