Arlington, Va., February 16, 2012 – Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, issued the following statement applauding the U.S. government for its launch of a new Interview Waiver Pilot Program for U.S. visa applicants in China, and for the expansion of visa facilities in Beijing. The pilot program would allow waivers of visa interviews for some applicants. Additional local consular resources are expected to increase visa interview capacity by 50 percent.
“This helpful change to the U.S. visa process for China is another important step in facilitating travel to the U.S. – making it easier for business travelers to come to the U.S. to buy American products and services. The 80 percent of CES exhibitors who are small businesses value the ability to meet international buyers without having to travel and exhibit at overseas trade shows. Easing the visa process will boost our economy, create jobs and reduce the deficit. We would welcome more steps by the U.S. government in this direction, including lengthening visa validity for qualified Chinese nationals traveling frequently to the U.S. on business.”
“As owner and producer of the International CES®, the world’s largest consumer electronics tradeshow, CEA places tremendous value on international business travel. CES attracts more than 35,000 visitors from outside the U.S. but we can and should get more, especially from significant markets such as China and Brazil. During the past decade, many international business professionals have not been able to attend CES due to delays in U.S. visa processing.”
CEA has long advocated for such policy changes, as outlined in this opinion piece. According to the U.S. Travel Association, facilitating international travel for U.S. business meetings, tradeshows, conventions and leisure could boost the U.S. economy by $263 billion annually and support 1.7 million American jobs.