Amidst the troublesome travel ban spear headed by King Cheeeto against all things Black and Brown, our Chinese colleagues have it much easier these days whenever they choose to cross the Pacific. Maybe they’ve paid their penance through the mass production of MAGA hats and cheap Trump suits….or maybe the US just needs a stronger ally against North Korea.
How China Affects the U.S. Economy
China is the second largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury bills, bonds, and notes. As of May 2017, China owned $1.10 trillion in Treasury’s. That’s 28 percent of the public debt held by foreign countries. For details, see What Is the U.S. Debt to China? (Source: “Major Foreign Holders of U.S. Securities,” U.S. Treasury.)
What is peg you ask? Well, the dollar peg uses a fixed exchange rate. That means a country’s central bank promises it will give you a fixed amount of its currency in return for a U.S. dollar. To maintain this peg, the country must have lots of dollars on hand, which is why most of the countries that peg their currencies to the dollar usually have high exporting operatives to the United States to receive a considerable amount of dollar payments. They exchange the dollars for local currency to pay their workers and domestic suppliers.
China’s role as America’s largest banker gives them quite a bit of leverage in Western business dealings. For example, China threatens to sell part of its holdings whenever the United States pressures it to raise the yuan’s value. Since 2005, China raised the yuan’s value by 33 percent against the dollar. Between 2014 and 2015, the dollar’s strength increased by 25 percent. China allowed the value of the yuan to decline. This was so its exports could remain competitive with Asian countries that hadn’t tied their currency to the dollar. For more, see Dollar to Yuan Conversion.
2017 US + China Visa Agreement
Every year, the number of Chinese tourists traveling the globe increases significantly, making them the largest group of travelers in the world. Now, thanks in part to a recent agreement between the U.S. and China to extend visas for short-term business travelers, tourists and students, the U.S. could see an increase in Chinese travelers in the near future.
This trend is supported by research from the latest Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) from Hotels.com® which reveals the U.S. is the second most popular destination for Chinese travelers to visit in the next 12 months (behind France), with popular U.S. landmarks like the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty topping travel wish lists.
The CITM research also identifies that, while cities in Asia Pacific remain the most popular (82 percent of Chinese travelers have visited in the past 12 months), visitors to Europe and America have increased with a year over year growth of 25 percent and 11 percent, respectively. These destinations were particularly popular with millennial travelers, with 42 percent visiting Europe and 29 percent visiting America in the past 12 months.
On the Hill, the 45 Administration is sweetening the deal with 13 wonderful ways Chinese travelers can have carte blanche while on American soil (how generous of us)
- U.S. and Chinese citizens who regularly travel back and forth between the U.S. and China will benefit from the longer validity by not having to apply and pay the application fee every year. Businesses in both countries, including the tourism industry, will benefit from increased travel, investment, and business development opportunities between the two countries. Longer visa validity will allow students and exchange visitors to return to their home countries during school and work holidays more easily.
- There will be no change in visa application fees. The basic visa fee of $160 includes appointment scheduling and passport delivery services. Visa information is available free both online at www.ustraveldocs.com and through the Call Center. Fees can be paid by debit card online, at any CITIC ATM, or in cash at a CITIC branch. Applicants can pick up their passports at any of 800 CITIC bank branches.
- The same standards of eligibility for a U.S. visa will apply as before this extension in validity.
- The Interview Waiver Program (IWP) remains a valuable tool to many visa holders who wish to renew visas. A great majority of current tourist, business visitor, student, and exchange visitor nonimmigrant visa holders will remain eligible for IWP processing. More information on IWP processing can be found at www.ustraveldocs.com.
- Changes in visa validity will not change the requirement that some applications will need additional administrative processing. As is true in all visa cases, when administrative processing is required, visa validity may vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.
- It is important to note that visa validity is NOT the same as the allowed duration of stay. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry where a Customs and Border Protection officer will grant admission to valid travelers. In doing so, the officer will inform the traveler of the permitted length of stay. The current change in visa validity does NOT change the permitted duration of stay for any visa class. Remaining in the United States beyond your allowed duration of stay can result in a violation of U.S. immigration laws and may cause you to be ineligible for travel to the United States in the future.
- The up-to ten-year validity visa is not a temporary offer, but represents a long-term reciprocal commitment. While an applicant should generally apply well in advance of their anticipated travel date, an individual with a currently valid visa or with no current travel plan should not rush to apply.
- Existing visas will be valid only until the expiration date printed on the current visa. This extension does NOT increase the validity of visas already issued. To obtain a visa with extended validity, holders of valid or recently-expired visas will need to apply again. Please note that many visa applicants are eligible for the Interview Waiver Program under which an interview may not be required; more information on IWP processing can be found at www.ustraveldocs.com.
- US Citizens are able to get a 10 year tourism and business visitors visa, since we are in a reciprocal arrangement, the Chinese government seems to be committed to accommodating Americans the way that American will be accommodating Chinese travelers.
- Chinese nationals will be afforded the same maximum validity for B-category visas as U.S. citizens are afforded when applying for an equivalent visa category.
- Although other visa classifications don’t hold longer validity, The United States and China continue to discuss visa validity for other classes of visas. All such decisions are made on a reciprocal basis. At the same time, it is important to note that in FY2014, business, tourist, student, and exchange visitor visas represented 97 percent of all non-immigrant visa applications processed in China for Chinese citizens.
- All qualified dependent family members of students and exchange visitors will be eligible for these same increases in visa validity.
- If you are a Chinese national living in a country other than China, yes you can still apply for a US travel visa. Yes, maximum visa validity is determined by the reciprocity arrangement with the country that issued your passport and not the country in which you apply.
Politico Points to Ponder
How does this help America or did we really have a choice? Last July, CNN ran an article entitled “Chinese flock to America to work for the companies they bought”. Conveniently a year later, a new Visa Treaty slips into fruition under the wandering eye of the American press and all of its plagued Fake news. For a Commander and Cheat like Trump, wouldn’t this be a notch in his belt worth tweeting if indeed it were a positive move to Make America Great Again through the resurgence of production plants and factory work. Time will tell if the China Express is blowing smoke or taking America to new level of economic prosperity.