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China announces visa-free policy for six European countries

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Starting March 14, China introduces a visa-free policy for selected European nations, aiming to boost international travel and cooperation.

In a move set to enhance international mobility and foster global cooperation, China has announced a visa-free policy for visitors from Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Starting from March 14, this trial initiative, as declared by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, marks a significant stride toward facilitating cross-border travel and reinforcing China’s ties with these European nations.

This policy unveiling occurred during a press conference held on the sidelines of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress, China’s national legislature. Wang Yi’s announcement underlines China’s intent to streamline the travel process for its citizens and foreign visitors alike, aiming for a reciprocal gesture of visa facilitation from other countries to establish fast-track networks for international travel. The ultimate goal is to encourage the speedy resumption of international passenger flights, paving the way for a global travel ecosystem that is more interconnected and efficient.

The benefits of such a policy are multifold. For Chinese citizens, it opens up new horizons for travel abroad, making international experiences more accessible. Conversely, citizens from the six European countries can now explore China’s vast cultural and scenic landscapes with ease, experiencing firsthand the country’s rich heritage and modern advancements without the bureaucratic hurdles of visa procurement.

Beyond facilitating travel, Wang Yi emphasized China’s commitment to broader international cooperation. He highlighted efforts to promote the signing of high-standard free trade agreements, expand a globally oriented network of free trade areas, and ensure the stability and unimpeded flow of global industrial, supply, and data chains. These measures aim not only to bolster China’s economic ties with the world but also to contribute to the resilience and prosperity of the global economy.

Moreover, China pledges to develop international cooperation platforms further, such as the China International Import Expo and the China International Fair for Trade in Services. These platforms serve as critical junctures for global trade and investment, showcasing China’s dedication to fostering an open, market-based, and law-governed business environment. By aligning its policies with international standards, China aspires to offer more stable expectations and long-term benefits for investors and partners globally.

The visa-free policy and China’s broader commitments to international cooperation represent a leap forward in its engagement with the global community. By simplifying travel procedures, enhancing trade relationships, and creating an inviting business environment, China is positioning itself as a hub of international collaboration and cultural exchange. As the world looks to recover and thrive in the post-pandemic era, initiatives like these are crucial steps toward a more connected and mutually prosperous global landscape.

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