Beijing announced today that it would issue all categories of visa for foreigners starting from Wednesday, March 15, dropping the last barrier to cross-border travel imposed as part of the COVID-19 restrictions. AmCham China Chairman Colm Rafferty released a statement on today’s announcement.
“After advocating tirelessly throughout the pandemic to resolve the significant visa and travel challenges faced by our American business community in China, today’s announcement of the resumption of pre-COVID visa and entry policies for foreign nationals entering China comes as a welcome relief after three exhausting years of disruption.
Last month, according to our annual China Business Climate Survey Report, a key barometer of the sentiment of the American business community in China, pandemic-related restrictions on business travel remained a key challenge for US companies doing business in China, with 64% reporting a negative financial impact.
Today’s long-awaited move announcement removes a significant barrier to the normalization of travel. Moving forward, we urgently seek more flight options to and from the US, which will help to bring ticket prices back to an affordable level, as well as improved visa processing times.
Despite the challenges in the bilateral relationship, US-China trade has continued to grow throughout the pandemic, with increased trade in both directions. Our US member companies in China seek deeper in-person communications between the two governments to constructively address and resolve outstanding areas of concern. Furthermore, we also believe that the return of people-to-people exchanges – which today’s announcement finally makes possible – will help to facilitate mutual understanding, which is key for any relationship. ”
– AmCham China Chair Colm Rafferty