Obama touts business goals, new 10-year visas
Updated: 2014-11-11 10:11
US president reaches out on a range of issues, saying 'world will benefit' from cooperation
US President Barack Obama said on Monday that the United States intends to bolster trade and business ties with China and announced that the two countries will grant visas to each other's citizens valid for up to 10 years.
Speaking in Beijing at the CEO Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Obama said the United States hopes to welcome a growing share of eligible Chinese travelers, inject billions of dollars into the US economy and create enough demand to support hundreds of thousands of additional US jobs.
He also said he hopes to make progress on a bilateral investment treaty that will open door to massive Chinese investment in the US, and vice versa.
Under the new visa agreement, Chinese and US citizens will be able to obtain business and short-term tourist visas valid for 10 years, up from one year currently. Student and cultural exchange visas will be valid for five years rather than just one, Obama said.
The US attracted just 2 percent of about 100 million Chinese overseas travelers last year, government figures showed. As a result of the new policy, the United States could gain as many as 440,000 jobs by 2021 and receive an $85 billion annual infusion into its economy, the White House said.
Besides economic ties, Obama also said he wanted to see cooperation with China in a wide range of areas, including the fight against Ebola, preventing nuclear proliferation and addressing climate change.
Obama also used the moment to speak of his country's good intentions toward China, repeating his previous statement that the US welcomes the rise of a "prosperous, stable and peaceful" China, as that is not only in the best interest of China but also in the best interest of the United States.
"We want China to do well," Obama said. "We compete for business, but we also seek to cooperate on a broad range of challenges and shared opportunities. ... When China the US work together, the world will benefit."
He stressed that in the 21st century, the pursuit of economic growth, job creation and trade is not a "zero-sum" game, and that "one country's prosperity doesn't have to come at the expense of the other".
While he noted that he was unable to attend the APEC leaders' summit in Russia and Indonesia, he said the US remained committed to the region.
"America is inherently a Pacific power. Our future, security and prosperity are inextricably intertwined in this region," Obama said.