Acquiring clearance for immigration was commonly deemed as a problem simply because of the lengthy process visitor passes took to get approved. Albeit its inconvenience, such process of visa application is critical to ensure safe passage and proper procedure. This became an obstacle in maintaining good business relationships. Ultimately, concerns from the stakeholders led to the creation of the Asia Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Business Travel Card to do away with the difficulties.
Entrepreneurs are now able to get their APEC business travel card to enjoy more flexibleness while on travel. In an attempt to open investment potentials and promote free trade, the government from participating countries have worked together to accomplish this objective. The owners of the APEC business travel card can pre-clear their short-term entry into the listed nations for commercial purposes, and this will help to avoid them from dealing with unnecessary paperwork.
Individuals bypass the process of being required to apply for visas and entry permits under personal travel permits and will be able to use this multi-entry passes to enter into participating countries on arrival through exclusive APEC lanes.
Giving his full support, Datuk R. Ramanan had also complimented the Malaysian Immigration Department for their hard work in enabling such a functional solution that should contribute to the national economic growth and expansion.
Datuk Ramanan Ramakrishnan‘s encouragement was expressed by his remark that the APEC business travel card has created new gateways for local firms to venture into foreign economies effortlessly. Local companies could now make full use of the advantage as a consequence of the excellent effort made by related officers who fostered ties with other countries and this has a positive effect on the national economy.
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 amongst the participating members of the APEC scheme. In the meantime, USA and Canada have taken part as transition members.
The effects are huge for our country, as diplomatic ties with certain countries require more bureaucratic administration, as an illustration, China, where limitations on entry should be applied in advance, whether it be a social pass or re-entries related to business.
Based upon a basic research performed by the APEC Policy Support Unit, the APEC Business Travel Card assists to lower transactional cost for its holders for up to 38%. This finding shows that the initiative works both saves time and actual cost allocated to travelling. Based on estimation, the cumulative time saved for the APEC Business Travel Card holders between March 2010 to July 2011 is 62,413 hours, which in monetary form, is valued at USD1.9 million.