A bill designed to expedite business travel between the U.S. and Asia-Pacific nations, including China, Japan, Australia, and Singapore, was signed into law in November by President Barack Obama.

“I just signed a piece of legislation that was voted on unanimously by Congress that essentially sets up an APEC business gold card,” announced Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit on November 12 in Honolulu. With the APEC Business Travel Card, qualified, pre-screened American business travelers will have access to special fast-track APEC immigration lanes at airports. The card also eliminates the need to apply for visas or entry permits for travel to the participating APEC countries as the card itself is the visa. Cards are valid for three years from first issue and are accepted in 20 APEC nations.

“This common-sense legislation is the type of ‘smart travel’ initiative necessary to boost economic productivity and show the world we can secure international travel with risk-management tools,” said Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Travel Association.

The new APEC Business Travel Card reflects the economic importance of the Asia-Pacific region. “There is no region in the world that we consider more vital than the Asia-Pacific region,” said Obama at APEC. “On the business side, this is where the action is going to be. If we’re going to not just double our exports, but make sure that good jobs are created here in America, then we are going to have to continue to expand our trade opportunities and economic integration with the fastest-growing region in the world.”

For more information and to learn how to apply, visit APEC’s Business Mobility Web site.