The Canadian business community has pushed Ottawa to launch free-trade talks with Beijing. Instead, China agreed to provide 10-year multiple-entry visas to Canadian travelers crossing the Pacific for business, tourism or family purposes.
Last week In trade minister Ed Fast said the change will “reduce costs, cut red tape” and make life easier for Canadian companies.
The arrangement was first announced in Beijing by China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, who said the agreement would have the countries “issuing visas to each other’s citizens with the validity period of up to 10 years.” However, Canada has been providing 10-year visas to Chinese citizens as early as 2012. In November of 2014, China and the United States also reached a mutual 10-year visa arrangement.
Up until now, Canadian business travelers were typically given a single-entry visa for the first visit, and then multiple-entry visas with increasingly long periods of time on subsequent occasions. The visas were primarily an inconvenience.
The primary push from the business community, however, is for Ottawa to make progress on a free-trade agreement with China, which it has resisted amid broader concerns among Canadians over giving Chinese companies legally-binding rights in their trade with Canada.