2005 (2) New Delhi - Business Mobility
Note: This policy statement was issued on the 17th of February 2005 during the 69th CACCI General Council Meeting in New Delhi.
The Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and its constituent member national chambers of commerce and industry consider that:
1. Business mobility is an essential part of international trade, commerce and investment. Commerce and industry requires predictable, simple and transparent immigration laws, policies and practices, applied in a consistent manner by governments, to take advantage of business opportunities.
2. Business people need to travel to explore, develop and maintain new fields for trade and commerce, whether as a platform for exports or as a market for imports.
3. In the case of cross-border investment, they need to travel to examine and if appropriate build new opportunities, or assume control of existing capital assets. They may also need to put in place key personnel to manage and develop such investments.
4. Impediments imposed by governments to business mobility between countries can be a serious non-tariff barrier to trade, commerce and investment.
5. Governments in the Asia Pacific region individually and collectively need to work to enhance business mobility by:
5.a. Progressively liberalizing their laws, regulations, policies and practices governing the movement of business people;
5.b. Simplifying and making more transparent information about such requirements; and
5.c. Consistent with domestic capacities, streamline administrative arrangements for the movement of business people across borders.
6. None of the proposals contained in this statement should be construed as impairing the capacity of national governments to maintain effective border control arrangements. This includes the right to determine who enters their country, and the terms and conditions on which those person do so and upon which they remain.
7. Visa free entry for business travelers is to be encouraged as an attractive mechanism for facilitating business mobility, recognizing that in the short to medium term this may be limited to developed countries and/or those with deeper and longer standing commercial relationships.
8. The APEC Business Travel Card offers a useful model for simplifying and streamlining business mobility between the countries of the Asia Pacific region. We note the benefits of the Card, which is equivalent to a multiple entry visa for Card holders, include easier and quicker entry and exit from participating countries, while enhancing the integrity of border control arrangements (given Cardholders are effectively pre-vetted). CACCI would encourage APEC members who have not already done so, to join into the APEC Business Travel Card, and non-APEC members to consider participation in this initiative.
9. Enhanced efforts are necessary by governments in the Asia Pacific region to improve access for business to essential information relating to mobility and travel to their respective nations.
A constructive initiative which regional governments could consider, individually and collectively, would be the development and publication in electronic form of a ‘quick and easy’ reference guide for reliable information on the entry, visa and continued presence requirements in their jurisdictions.
10. Action is also necessary to improve and streamline arrangements for intracompany transfers, especially regarding key executives, management and specialist personnel associated with foreign direct investments.
11. The liberal movement of such personnel is often an essential element of the original investment decision, and vital to the success, or otherwise, of the investment project.
12. In this regard, national governments should be prepared to provide binding commitments on business mobility, including intra-company transfers, to enterprises making inward foreign direct investment decisions where the movement of such personnel is an integral part of the investment decision.
13. Developed countries and relevant international institutions, such as APEC, ADB, and the World Bank could provide useful capacity building and technical assistance to less developed countries in the Asia Pacific region to implement these proposals in a manner which facilitates trade, commerce and investment, and helps to improve their sustained international competitiveness.
Implementation of this Statement
B. To carry forward the implementation of the matters agreed in this Statement, CACCI and its Member organisations further resolve:
1. The CACCI Secretariat is to convey this Statement to the relevant parties within the APEC processes, including the APEC Secretariat and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC);
2. Member national chambers should convey this Statement to the appropriate agencies within their respective national governments. Such agencies could include those dealing with foreign affairs, trade and migration; and
3. Members could also usefully promote this Statement in various public for available to them, for example their own policy journals and publications, and in media statements and speeches, at times and manners they consider appropriate in their own circumstances.