The ABTC scheme facilitates short-term business travel within APEC economies by streamlining the entry process at ports of entry within the region.
Approved applicants are issued a card that serves as the entry authority to fully participating economies, as noted in a written statement issued by the APEC Business Mobility Group and received here on Wednesday.
"We continuously seek to improve the system and make it easier and more secure for cardholders to travel around the region," Kimberlee Stamatis, convenor of the APEC Business Mobility Group that oversees the scheme, stated.
The mobile application will encompass security features, including user verification, use of watermarks, and disabling of screenshots within the mobile application to ensure authenticity of the cardholder.
"Additional security features for the mobile application further hinder fraudulent replication and misuse and protect the personal details of APEC Business Travel Card holders," she stated.
Furthermore, the mobile application will provide real-time information on the status of the travel card to cardholders and airport officers. Cached information will also be accessible for a period, in the event that the holder is not able to go online while traveling.
"The service will be offered to new applicants from fully participating economies, and we are exploring ways to enable existing cardholders to request the mobile application when they apply for a card renewal, which is required every five years," Stamatis expounded.
Further discussions are underway to ensure that the mobile application caters to the needs of both cardholders and airport officials.
The APEC Business Mobility Group will work on the pilot version of the application projected to be launched in November 2020 during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Malaysia.
Based on member economies’ preference for either the mobile application or physical card, the service is expected to be ready for use in early 2021.
A total of 19 APEC economies are fully participating members to the ABTC scheme: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Vietnam. Meanwhile, Canada and the United States are transitional members.
Transitional members’ cardholders will not be able to use the mobile application. However, their existing processes will remain unchanged.
The APEC Business Travel Card scheme reduces travel costs between APEC economies by 38 percent. Businesses pay 27 percent less in application fees and 52 percent less in immigration processing. Related news: Malaysia begins APEC host year in Putrajaya
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