An agreement between Israel and China to put in place a 10-year, multi-entry visa to boost business and tourist travel between the two Asian countries would be effective starting 11 November, said an Israeli Foreign Ministry official on 31 August. The Jerusalem Post quotes the Chinese officials as telling it that Israel’s bureaucracy had delayed the agreement signed in March in Jerusalem by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong,.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the problem arose as in China international pacts are ratified prior to their being signed, while in the Jewish nation treaties are signed first and then taken to the Knesset, the Parliament of Israel, for ratification.
The Knesset is said to have ratified this deal in July. Both the countries came to an understanding at the start that it would take 90 days to implement after ratification to allow authorities of both nations to be prepared for the new system. China has a similar type of arrangement with only two other countries – Canada and the US. It is expected that the new visa regime, which is simplified, would make travel much easier between these two countries, leading to a boost in business and tourism. Bilateral trade between these two countries was reportedly worth over $9 billion in 2015, an increase of 100 percent when compared to 2007. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Israel from January to July this year reached about 39,000 as against around 25,000 during the same period in 2015.
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