Spain's business community welcomes visa-free access to China

(Xinhua) 13:10, December 01, 2023

BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Spain's business community has welcomed the Chinese authorities' decision to trial visa-free entry from Dec. 1 for citizens of Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Malaysia.

"The fact that there are fewer obstacles boosts foreign visits, facilitates access and, aside from the influence of any extra investment, above all tourism will benefit," Josep Maria Gomes, international business developer at the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua in an interview on Thursday.

Until Nov. 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders from the six selected countries can do business or travel in China without the need for a visa for up to 15 days.

The measure has been introduced to help "promote China's high-quality development and opening up," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said last Friday.

According to the Chamber of Commerce official, it is no surprise that five of the countries selected for visa-free travel are European Union member states.

"Spain and the other countries in the European Union have exceptionally strong links and relations with China, and in fact their investments made in China in the past few years have just about doubled," he said.

"Visiting China with an emergency visa, for example, means an extra cost for us but this measure would avoid this and would no doubt facilitate all business visits," he added.

Yet, Gomes stressed that the sector that had the most to gain from the new measure is foreign tourism, which he said the Chinese authorities are very keen to promote.

"Tourism is also necessary to reveal a reality that's not what we think it is. Travel and visiting China can help dispel those cliches that very often are not true," he said.

Gomes said that any measure that increases exchanges and cooperation between Europe and China should be encouraged given the importance of the two blocs maintaining good relations.

"China has always been a focus for us and a country that's always in our internationalization plans because it's not only a country with great potential ... but also a country where our companies must be present," he said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


Related Stories