The process of granting visitor passes and immigration clearance had commonly been recognized for its long and arduous protocol. This kind of issue to make visa application used to be unavoidable in order to maintain proper procedure and ensure safe passage for everybody. Unfortunately, this lengthy process had a negative impact on business connections. After many years of examining the potential solutions, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card was finally initiated.
Owners of businesses are now able to request for the APEC Business Travel Card to obtain more flexibility while travelling. This is attained through mutual cooperation between governments with the intent of opening investment opportunities and encouraging free trade. Using the APEC Business Card, the holder’s short-term entry can be pre-cleared into countries to conduct business. This system enables the cardholders to go around unnecessary rules and formalities.
The entire process of applying for visas along with entry permits under personal travel can be skipped by individuals, and cardholders can make use of this multi-entry passes to take the designated APEC lanes upon arrival at the listed nations.
Datuk R. Ramanan had fully endorsed the initiative and praised the Malaysia Immigration Department with regards to efficiency and willingness to embrace an incredibly practical solution that promotes a rapid growth and advancement of the national economy.
According to Datuk R. Ramanan, he condones the APEC Business Travel Card initiative simply because it increased the opportunities for Malaysian entrepreneurs to go to other international markets in the region. Now, businesses can reap the rewards, and it’s all possible simply because of the enormous effort shown by the officers to visit the related countries to nurture the good relationship and subsequently bring ease that will be enjoyed by Malaysians.
To date, the nations who have taken part of the APEC Travel Card scheme are Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, Philippines, Peru, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Mexico, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Chile, Brunei Darussalam, and Australia. Not just that, the program has also attracted the United States of America and Canada to become its transition members.
The implications are substantial for our nation, as diplomatic ties with certain countries require more bureaucratic administration, as an illustration, China, in which the entry limitation must be applied beforehand, may it be a social pass or business-related re-entries.
Being a strong advocate for Indian business people in Malaysia, Datuk Ramanan Ramakrishnan stresses the importance for them to seize the opportunity to bring economic success and growth to the nation. Stimulation from the Indian community in Malaysia helps to enhance the full endorsement of APEC card to reinforce, nurture and promote the rapidly growing businesses.
Recently, a report conducted by the APEC Policy Support Unit has uncovered that the APEC Business Travel Card initiative has helped cardholders to reduce their transaction cost nearly 38%. This means that the scheme does not only help to reduce waiting time but additionally real travelling cost. Between March 2010 to July 2011 alone, it’s been estimated that a total of 62,413 hours was saved by the card owners, which translated into USD1.9 million.