Beijing, China — China has relaxed its visa rules for visiting the United States in a sign of a renewed effort to boost tourism and boost economic activity in the US.
The announcement comes amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea and the North Korea crisis.
The move came just days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing American firms to export products from China to the United State.
“The President and I have a long-standing bilateral agreement to work together to improve economic cooperation between our countries and to advance bilateral cooperation in trade and investment,” Trump said at the White House on Tuesday.
“I’m pleased that the Chinese government has made this change, as the agreement between our two countries was already in place.”
The president’s order also provides US companies with greater access to the Chinese market.
The State Department said the US will allow Chinese companies to export $500 million worth of goods and services, or 20% of their sales, to the US over the next three years.
That amount is expected to grow to $1.2 billion by 2020, with another $100 million or so in the pipeline.
The new order also allows US companies to invest up to $500,000 to build and operate American infrastructure in China.
US President Donald J. Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Rose Garden of the White the White house, February 27, 2021.
“In order to enhance economic and cultural ties between the United STATES and China, the United Kingdom and the United Nations, and to strengthen our own security, we will now be able to provide a further $500M per year in direct investment to Chinese companies, in addition to the $500K we already provided in the previous two years,” said Deputy State Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce.
“This change will help ensure that the United states remains a leader in the Asia-Pacific region and a valued trading partner for China and other nations, and will allow the United Sates to better compete with China and the other countries of the region.”
Trump also signed an order to encourage Chinese companies working in the United United States to set up offices in China, which he said would create “over a million American jobs.”
China has long been a source of American trade and tourism, with more than $60 billion worth of US exports and $3.5 billion in trade with China last year.
“We have a lot of business in China and they are a huge market,” said Jason Devereaux, CEO of Devereux Capital, an investment advisory firm.
“You see that they are growing faster than other nations and they’re seeing that they can’t be ignored, and that’s the case with us.”