U.S. and China Establish Reciprocal Visa Validity Agreements to Strengthen Economic, Educational and Cultural Collaborations

China's leading retail business conglomerate the BHG Beijing Hualian Hypermarket Delegation Visits Wegman's Iconic American Flagship Pittsford Store and are welcomed by Mary Ho, President of the China Millennium Council, H. Oliver Hamlin IV, Greater Rochester Asian American Pacific Islander Leadership Delegate and Larry Damore, Senior Vice President of Wegmans Food Markets headquartered in Upstate Rochester, New York.

U.S. President Obama traveled to China and met with China President Xi Jinping to effect a reciprocal visa validity arrangement to broaden and fortify economic and people-to-people ties. Both countries mutually agreed to increase the validity of short-term tourist and business visas issued to each other’s citizens from one to ten years – the longest validity possible under U.S. law – and increase the validity of student and exchange visas from one to five years.  The U.S began issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal agreement on November 12, 2014. The visa accord will enhance trade, investment, and business ties by facilitating travel and ease access to both economies.  Extended validity visas for students and exchange visitors will foster the bonds between U.S. and China and facilitate travel for outstanding students from around the world who attend U.S. institutions of higher education.  As a result of this arrangement, the U.S. hopes to welcome a growing share of eligible Chinese travelers, inject billions in the U.S. economy and create demand to support hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. jobs.

Welcoming a Growing Share of Chinese Travelers

  • China is the fastest-growing outbound tourism market in the world, and in 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S., contributing $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 109,000 American jobs
  • Chinese travelers consistently rank the United States as their most-desired travel destination, yet less than 2 percent of total Chinese travelers come to the U.S.
  • Chinese travelers cite ease of visa policies as the second most important factor in deciding where to travel, behind only cost
  • A competitive visa policy will help U.S. meet projections that suggest as many as 7.3 million Chinese travelers will come to the U.S. by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting up to 440,000 U.S. jobs

Strengthening Bonds Between Chinese and American Students

  • 28 percent of all foreign students and exchange visitors in the U.S. originate from China
  • Chinese students in the U.S. spent $8 billion in 2013, an increase of nearly 24 percent over the previous year
  • Visa accord will allow American and Chinese students to more easily travel back and forth, making foreign study a more attractive option, increasing opportunities for people-to-people ties, and boosting mutual understanding

Extending Visa Validity to Increase the Number of Chinese Travelers Coming to the U.S. and Support American Jobs. In order to support America’s most important and largest services export – tourism.  Chinese travelers persistently rank the U.S. as their top desired travel destination, but only slightly more than 1.8 percent of total outbound travelers go to the U.S.  Chinese travelers cite ease of visa policies as the second most important factor in deciding where to travel, behind only cost.  A competitive visa policy is needed to secure the U.S. as the chosen destination for millions of Chinese travelers

Global growth of outbound travel from China represents an unprecedented opportunity to foster job creation across the country.  China is the fastest growing outbound tourism market in the world, and Chinese visitors have accounted for 20 percent of the growth in overseas travel to the U.S. since 2008.  In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S., contributing $21.1 billion to the American economy and supporting more than 109,000 U.S. jobs.  As incomes in China continue to rise, the number of Chinese citizens able to afford international travel and tourism is projected to more than double over the next few years, reaching the hundreds of millions.  Close to 7.3 million Chinese are projected to travel to the U.S. by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting 440,000 jobs.

Increasing business travel will support the U.S. President’s goal of increasing exports. Increasing visa validity for U.S. citizens traveling to China makes it easier to respond to market and commercial opportunities in China, helping to boost U.S. exports, foster increased trade ties, and improve commercial linkages between U.S. and Chinese firms.  In the near term, extending visa validity for Chinese business travelers will also help meet the President’s Select USA goal of boosting inward investment into the United States as the U.S. travel and tourism industry commits to making upfront investments in new hotels and other infrastructure in anticipation of a rise in Chinese inbound travel.

Dr. Deana Porterfield Innovates Modern Leadership as the 11th President of Roberts Wesleyan College

Roberts Wesleyan College 11th President Dr. Deana Porterfield and Mary Ho, China Millennium Council President Discuss the Role of Multicultural Education in Higher Learning Institutions by Developing Global Cultural Competencies and Bringing Together Minds, Hearts and Hands to Serve and Transform Our Modern Society.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist José Antonio Vargas and Actor Maulik Pancholy Welcome AAJA Media Institute Fellows

AAJA Media Institute W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellow Mary Ho and White House Initiative Asian American Pacific Islander AAPI Commissioner and Actor Maulik Pancholy Reminisce Their Camaraderie at the 25th Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala at the National Convention in Washington, D.C.

2014 AAJA Media Institute Fellows, President of Asian Chamber of Commerce Linda Toyota, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist José Antonio Vargas, China Millennium Council President Mary Ho and YALSA Director-at-Large Candice Mack at the 25th AAJA Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala

Asian American Journalists Association proudly celebrated their 25th Annual Scholarship and Gala with keynote speakers Pulitzer Prize award winning journalist José Antonio Vargas and Presidential Advisory Council Commissioner and actor Maulik Pancholy.

José Antonio Vargas spoke of his dilemma of his recent detainment at the Texas border as an undocumented immigrant and coming out of the closet as a gay man to his grandmother. He is a highly acclaimed and controversial journalist and documentary film writer, producing visual and editorial commentary impacting AIDS and immigration policies in the U.S. Vargas’ national and international appearances include Nightline, The O’Reilly Factor and The Colbert Report.

Maulik Pancholy’s accolades include the popular roles he portrayed as Jonathan in the award winning comedy tv show 30 Rock and Showtime’s award winning Weeds as Sanjay. His recent appointment as Commissioner on the President’s Advisory Council of the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders brings to focus the social disparities and stereotypes AAPI still encounter and address the issue of bullying in new social media.

AAJA also launched their inaugural Media Institute Fellows Program led by renowned media experts Pamela Wu, Emmy nominated former news anchor & television host; and Ellen Lee, freelance journalist and former staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. Distinguished speakers included Jan Yanehiro, Emmy award winning national broadcast journalist and author; Sharon Pian Chan, associate opinions and digital editor of the Seattle Times; Cefann Kim, general assignment, live newscast reporter, broadcast journalism NYC; and Chris Nguyen, anchor and breaking news reporter, Sacramento CA. The Media Institute Fellows Program was sponsored by Gannett, General Motors, and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

APAICS Celebrates 20th Annual Gala Honoring Outstanding Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Leadership

Keynote Speaker George Takei, Actor of Star Trek Fame Sulu and Mary Ho, President of the China Millennium Council Discuss the Critical Importance of Civic Engagement and Social Equity & Justice for the Asian American Pacific Islanders Community.

Master and Mistress of Ceremonies Paul Song, M.D. Biotechnology Executive and Lisa Ling, Executive Producer and Host of Our America on OWN Oprah Winfrey Network Reminisce Earlier Days with Mary Ho, China Millennium Council President at the APAICS Twentieth Annual Awards Gala.

U.S. Department of Interior and White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Salutes New Commissioners

U.S. Department of Interior and White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Host Ceremony of Newly Appointed Commissioners on President Obama's Asian American and Pacific Islander Advisory Council Sworn-In by U.S Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan.

Maulik Pancholy, Actor 30 Rock and Newly Appointed Commissioner of the WHIAAPI President’s Advisory Council and Mary Ho, China Millennium Council President, Emulate “I Am Beyond” Theme Capturing the Aspirations of the American Spirit and How Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander Descent Have Always Sought to Excel Beyond the Challenges that have Limited Equal Opportunity in America.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Commerce Business Roundtable

Audrey Buehring, Deputy Director for the White House Initiative on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and Mary Ho, China Millennium Council President Discuss Meeting the Needs of the Asian American Pacific Islanders Businesses and Entrepreneurs Held at the U.S. Department of Commerce Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

Meeting of the Minds, Cornell Alumni Mary Ho, China Millennium Council President and Kenneth Jarrett, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai AMCHAM Cross Paths at the WHIAAPI U.S. Department of Commerce Reception in Washington, D.C.