Business Mobility Group
The mobility of business people is a key factor in the promotion of free and open trade. According to the Osaka Action Agenda (OAA), which was adopted by APEC Economic Leaders in 1995, APEC is committed to enhancing business mobility. This can be done through the exchange of information between member economies on regulatory regimes and immigration processes for business travel, to streamline visa application or set arrangements for temporary residences for business people.
The Business Mobility Group (BMG) was formed in 1997 when the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) made the facilitation of business travel a priority. Since the BMG’s establishment, the group has regularly consulted with the business community.
The BMG’s work plan encompasses the following initiatives, detailed below.
Advancing Regional Economic Integration
One outcome of the BMG’s collaboration with ABAC was the development of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). Frequent business travellers that are approved ABTC holders can enjoy streamlined entry into participating APEC economies.
In 2013, APEC Economic Leaders recognized the increasing need for more efficient flows of goods, services, capital and people. APEC intends to accelerate our region’s physical, institutional, and people-to-people connectivity through a long-term commitment. BMG has been tasked to further the work on travel facilitation which includes enhancing the APEC Business Travel Card scheme.
On 1 September 2015, the validity of the ABTC was extended from three to five years. This significantly improved the user experience for cardholders by reducing the need to apply for a new card as frequently. In turn, the extension created additional efficiencies for users and economies through a reduction in processing times, printing and distribution costs.
To improve information available to ABTC holders, participating members are preparing a survey on pre-clearance policies, regulatory settings, and have fielded answers to frequently asked questions.
Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity and Infrastructure
Advanced Passenger Information Systems
By receiving passenger information in advance of travel, authorities can expedite the assessment and processing of legitimate travellers through ports of entry and shift their focus on those requiring additional scrutiny.
The BMG is helping economies implement advance passenger information systems through on capacity building projects or the sharing of best practices and methods.
Expanding Regulatory Cooperation and Advancing Regulatory Convergence
Legal Infrastructure Standards
The BMG conducts reviews of legal infrastructure standards. Its previous review concluded intersessionally in 2014. These standards aim to assist in further developing economies’ immigration infrastructures, which are critical for economies to achieve effective and efficient border management practices and procedures. In the 2017, the BMG agreed to review the infrastructure standards again.
Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth
Passport Checking Service (PCS)
The BMG contributes to APEC’s Consolidated Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy by exploring future strategic direction of the Passport Checking Service (PCS). The intended result will be a real-time travel document validation service between economies.
The APEC Business Travel Card to be Further Modernized
APEC Business Travel Card to be Extended to Five Years from 1 September
Landmark Agreement to Extend APEC Business Travel Card Announced
APEC economies are improving border entry for air travelers
Russia opens visa-free entry under APEC business travel scheme
Business leaders applaud Obama’s move on APEC travel card
Russia joins the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme
New APEC Guide to Help Governments Issue Passports with Microchips
APEC Business Travel Card Extends its Reach
418 Stolen, Lost and Invalid Passports Detected by APEC System
As a major support to business mobility, the ABTC provides bona fide business travellers with pre-cleared entry to participating APEC economies. The ABTC holders enjoy fast-track entry and exit through special APEC lanes at major airports, and multiple short term entries to these economies.
Mr Malcolm McAllister
Ms Joyce MARISON Camacho