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Business Travellers Overlook APEC Benefits

Media Release 24 November 2005

Business Travellers Overlook APEC Benefits

Not enough frequent business travellers are taking advantage of the benefits of economic agreements between countries, often because they simply don’t know what is on offer, according to one of the world’s fastest growing travel and expense management specialists.

In the wake of the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Korea, FCm Travel Solutions New Zealand general manager Christian Casbolt said it was time businesses started to look at what close economic ties between the nations actually meant in practice for business people.

He pointed to the APEC Business Travel Card as a prime example of a practical benefit for New Zealand business travellers. The card provides accredited business people with streamlined access to participating APEC countries, with cardholders gaining express immigration clearance through special APEC lanes at customs, no requirement to apply for visas or entry permits and multiple entry to participating countries for a stay of up to 90 days on each visit.

Participating economies of the scheme include Australia, Brunei, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Chinese Taipei. Vietnam becomes the 17th country to join the business travel card program, accepting participating business travellers in early 2006. Just four APEC members are yet to join

Mr Casbolt said it was an excellent case of APEC simplifying the process of doing business for member economies, which in turn promoted business activity within the region.

“By streamlining business travel APEC is reducing the cost of doing business and helping New Zealand companies maximise opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. It should open the way for higher levels of trade and investment in the region,” he said.

The APEC Region accounts for around half of the world’s trade, and is today at the heart of business growth globally. Mr Casbolt said it therefore made sense for business people to move more freely between participating economies.

"If we can encourage New Zealanders to be more aware of the benefits of organisations such as APEC, we can continue to lower the barriers that make business travel and trade difficult."

The governments of participating economies issue APEC Business Travel Cards and the program is overseen by the APEC Group on Business Mobility. Business people need only submit a single application in their home economy for the travel cards, and once issued the cards remain current for three years before they have to be renewed.

Mr Casbolt said there were also several other APEC initiatives in areas such as port logistics, standards harmonisation, elimination of corruption and e-business that were continuing to simplify doing business in the region.


ENDS

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