China Extends Visa-Free Entry to Six More European Nations

March 8, 2024

China Extends Visa-Free Entry to Six More European Nations

According to the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 7, to further facilitate people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries, China has decided to expand the range of countries eligible for visa exemption. The trial visa exemption policy will apply to ordinary passport holders from Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg. From March 14 to November 30, 2024, individuals from these countries visiting China for business, tourism, family visits, or transit for no more than 15 days, will be able to enter the country without a visa. Those who do not meet the visa exemption criteria from the aforementioned countries will still need to obtain a visa before entering China.

Following the announcement of visa exemption for the second batch of six countries, a rapid increase in search volume for travel products related to these countries was observed on multiple online travel platforms. This further expansion of the visa-free policy sends a positive signal and demonstrates China’s determination to actively open up. It is also expected to further accelerate people-to-people exchanges, economic and trade interactions, and tourism development between China and Europe. Currently, China has formed a “visa-free friendship circle” with the Southeast Asian region, including countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, which is conducive to promoting transnational tourism and the recovery of supply chains. In 2023, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, and Hungary were ranked around 30th among the source countries for inbound tourists to China. With the implementation of the visa exemption policy for these long-distance source countries, China’s inbound tourism is expected to experience further growth in 2024.


China’s 2024 Foreign Trade Opens with Surge After 2023 Gains

Following a year of modest growth in foreign trade in 2023, China has experienced a “strong start” in 2024. In the first two months of the year, China’s trade in goods reached a new historic high for the same period, with exports in US dollars increasing by 7.1% year-on-year. According to data released by the General Administration of Customs on March 7, in the first two months of this year, China’s total value of goods trade imports and exports was 6.61 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.7% compared to the same period last year. Exports amounted to 3.75 trillion yuan, up by 10.3%, while imports totaled 2.86 trillion yuan, up by 6.7%. The trade surplus expanded by 23.6% to 890.87 billion yuan. During the same period, China’s trade with ASEAN, the United States, and South Korea also grew.

China’s foreign trade data shows a significant recovery, influenced by the warming of overseas demand and also reflecting the resilience of China’s foreign trade. It is expected that China’s foreign trade exports will maintain moderate expansion this year. In the future, China should not only actively seek markets in developed economies to cultivate new advantages and develop new momentum in foreign trade but also expand into more emerging markets and actively develop intermediate goods trade.

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