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112th Congress                                                   Report

 1st Session                     SENATE                          112-92
_______________________________________________________________________


  ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION BUSINESS TRAVEL CARDS ACT OF 2011

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 1487

 TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY, IN COORDINATION WITH 
 THE SECRETARY OF STATE, TO ESTABLISH A PROGRAM TO ISSUE ASIA-PACIFIC 
   ECONOMIC COOPERATION BUSINESS TRAVEL CARDS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES







                November 8, 2011.--Ordered to be printed





                  U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
                          WASHINGTON : 2011
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; DC 
area (202) 512-1800 Fax: (202) 512-2104  Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 
20402-0001








        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

               JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut, Chairman
CARL LEVIN, Michigan                 SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine
DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii              TOM COBURN, Oklahoma
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware           SCOTT P. BROWN, Massachusetts
MARK L. PRYOR, Arkansas              JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana          RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
JON TESTER, Montana                  RAND PAUL, Kentucky
MARK BEGICH, Alaska                  JERRY MORAN, Kansas

                  Michael L. Alexander, Staff Director
       Beth M. Grossman, Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel
               Blas Nunez-Neto, Professional Staff Member
  Eric M. Tamarkin, Counsel, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government 
    Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
               Nicholas A. Rossi, Minority Staff Director
   Brendan P. Shields, Minority Director for Homeland Security Policy
             Christopher J. Burford, Minority CBP Detailee
                  Trina Driessnack Tyrer, Chief Clerk










112th Congress
                                 SENATE
                                                                 Report
 1st Session                                                     112-92

======================================================================



 
  ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION BUSINESS TRAVEL CARDS ACT OF 2011

                                _______
                                

                November 8, 2011.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Lieberman, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1487]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1487) to authorize 
the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the 
Secretary of State, to establish a program to issue Asia-
Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon with an amendment in the nature of a substitute and 
recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................4
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................4
  V. Estimated Cost of Legislation....................................5
 VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................6
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............6

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    S. 1487 aims to make it easier for American businesspeople 
to engage in commercial activities in the Asia-Pacific region 
by allowing them to participate in a travel program that has 
long been available to Asia-Pacific nationals seeking to do 
business in the United States. It does so by authorizing the 
Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the 
Department of State, to issue Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 
travel cards to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. 
These travel cards will allow their holders to bypass numerous 
requirements that would otherwise slow their access to and 
travel within certain Asia-Pacific countries.

                II. BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was 
established in 1989 as an acknowledgement of the growing 
economic and diplomatic interdependence among Asia-Pacific 
countries. During that year, Australia hosted Foreign and Trade 
Ministers from twelve Asia-Pacific nations, all of whom looked 
for ways to increase cooperation on a number of different 
fronts in order to more effectively foster economic growth. The 
founding members of APEC were Australia, Brunei, Canada, 
Darussalam, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, 
New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, 
Thailand and the United States.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\History, ASIA-PAC. ECON. COOPERATION, http://www.apec.org/About-
Us/About-APEC/History.aspx (last visited on Oct. 26, 2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One method APEC decided to use to promote commerce among 
its members involves the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) 
program, which it started in 1997.\2\ Under the ABTC program, 
APEC nations issue cards to business travelers and senior 
government officials who meet certain standards established by 
the member nation.\3\ Card applicants are screened against 
security and immigration databases to ensure that they are 
trusted travelers, and must be pre-cleared by participating 
nations in order to receive the card.\4\ In exchange for 
submitting to the program's review, the traveler gains 
expedited access to the APEC nations. By making it easier to 
gain admittance to a member nation, the program removes a 
common barrier to commerce, to the benefit of all countries 
involved. ABTCs are valid for three years and are issued by 
individual members for use by their own citizens.\5\ As of 
April 2011, nearly 90,000 foreign citizens held ABTCs.\6\ The 
National Center of APEC has estimated the demand for the cards 
by U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents at around 
10,500-15,000, depending on the eligibility criteria 
established.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\APEC Business Travel Card, BUS. MOBILITY GROUP, http://
www.businessmobility.org/key/abtc.html (last visited on Oct. 18, 2011).
    \3\APEC Business Travel Card, ASIA-PAC. ECON. COOPERATION, http://
www.apec.org/ /link.aspx?_id=9E3E68AE3A0D4631B8381E66C4E893CF&_z=z 
(last visited Oct. 18, 2011).
    \4\APEC Business Travel Card Operating Framework, ASIA-PAC. ECON. 
COOPERATION. Document provided by the Department of State (on file with 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee).
    \5\Ibid.
    \6\Press Release, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, The APEC 
Business Travel Card surveys: Moving APEC's Businesspeople (Apr. 28, 
2011), http://apec.org/Press/Features/2011/0428_abtcsurveys.aspx.
    \7\Dep't of State, Fact Sheet: APEC Business Travel Card Program 
(ABTC) (on file with Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 
Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While there are 21 members of APEC, only 18 nations are 
full members of the ABTC program. Full members allow ABTC 
holders visa-free travel to their country and expedited 
immigration processing when they arrive (for example, some APEC 
countries do not require that ABTC travelers have passports). 
The United States, Canada, and Russia are transitional members, 
which means that they do not offer visa-free travel for ABTC 
holders. Instead, the United States, Canada, and Russia provide 
fast track immigration processing lanes, typically allowing 
ABTC holders to use diplomatic or crew lines at airports.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Based on Committee staff interviews with Department of Homeland 
Security and Department of State officials, October 12-27.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Although the United States is not a full participant in the 
ABTC program, it has made efforts to ease the travel of ABTC 
holders. The U.S. continues to require visas for ABTC holders 
to travel to the United States, for example, but affords ABTC 
holders from APEC countries expedited visa interview scheduling 
at embassies and consulates abroad. And as noted above, ABTC 
holders benefit from expedited immigration processing through 
airline crew or diplomatic lanes upon arriving at international 
airports, reducing their travel times significantly.
    Because the United States does not yet offer ABTCs to its 
citizens but does recognize foreign ABTC holders, the United 
States is currently at a competitive trade disadvantage. In 
other words, we allow nationals of other APEC nations to travel 
easily to and within the U.S., but we deny that same advantage 
to Americans traveling abroad because we currently do not have 
a program for issuing APEC business travel cards. When the 
United States joined the program in 2007 as a transitional 
member, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice remarked on 
how the program would give foreign business travelers easier 
access to United States markets:

          In order to foster trade, we must also facilitate 
        travel. Therefore, the United States has decided this 
        year to recognize the APEC Business Travel Card, as the 
        first step toward joining the program. This will enable 
        entrepreneurs . . . to gain visas, to move through our 
        immigration lines, and to visit America--in a faster, 
        safer, easier manner.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Press Release, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC Leaders 
Address Regional Business Interests (Nov. 19, 2006), http://
www.apec.org/Press/News-Releases/2006/1119_vn_ 
leadersaddregbizinterest.aspx.

    S. 1487 would provide the same benefits to American 
businesspeople traveling to other APEC countries that their 
foreign counterparts have enjoyed in the United States since 
2007.
    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction 
with the Department of State (State), has been working with 
Congress to obtain the legislative authority to issue the ABTC 
to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who are members 
of Global Entry, the DHS international trusted traveler 
program.\10\ S. 1487 reflects negotiations among DHS, State, 
and Congress to fulfill the United States' obligations under 
the APEC agreement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program and APEC, internal 
Department of Homeland Security document. (Sept. 30, 2011) (on file 
with Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This legislation could have a significant positive impact 
for U.S. businesses. A full 44 percent of world trade and 54 
percent of global GDP are derived from the 21 APEC member 
economies.\11\ In 2010, U.S. exports to APEC economies totaled 
$774 billion--approximately 60 percent of all U.S. exports.\12\ 
Given the substantial amounts of trade and international 
commerce in the Asia-Pacific region, it is important to 
expedite the access of businesspeople and government officials 
to these countries. By increasing access to foreign markets, S. 
1487 will help American businesses expand their production, 
hire more workers, and bolster President Obama's National 
Export Initiative objective to double U.S. exports over the 
next 5 years.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\U.S.-APEC Trade Facts, OFFICE OF THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE, 
http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/japan-korea-apec/apec/us-apec-
trade-facts (last visited Oct. 19, 2011).
    \12\U.S.-APEC Trade Facts, OFFICE OF THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE, 
http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/japan-korea-apec/apec/us-apec-
trade-facts (last visited Oct. 19, 2011).
    \13\Exec. Order No. 13534, 75 Fed. Reg. 12433, 12433 (Mar. 16, 
2010); Letter from The Am. Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, to 
Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Collins, Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs Committee (Oct. 14, 2011) (on file with Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    S. 1487 has been endorsed by multiple U.S. business 
organizations, whose members are seeking parity with their 
foreign business competitors. For example, the American Chamber 
of Commerce in Singapore wrote in a recent letter to the Senate 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that 
``[the legislation will] help position American businesses to 
succeed in the booming Asia-Pacific economies, and to send a 
clear message that the United States is committed to bolstering 
its commercial presence in the region.''\14\ Additionally, the 
United States Council for International Business noted that 
ABTCs would complement other current programs such as the ATA 
Carnet System, which allows for temporary duty-free imports 
oversees, by expediting passage through APEC member airports 
and allowing increased time for meeting with customers, 
vendors, and transacting business.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\Letter from The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, to 
Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Collins, Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs Committee (Oct. 14, 2011) (on file with Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs Committee).
    \15\Letter from U.S. Council for Int'l Bus., to Senator Cantwell 
(Oct. 17, 2011) (on file with Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs Committee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While S. 1487 will provide clear benefits to U.S. 
businesses, it will be at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. By 
allowing DHS to prescribe and collect a fee for establishing 
and maintaining the ABTC program, the Committee intends that S. 
1487 be budget neutral.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 1487 was introduced on August 2, 2011, by Senator 
Cantwell with original co-sponsors Senator Akaka and Senator 
Inouye. The Committee considered S. 1487 at its October 19, 
2011, business meeting. Members adopted by voice vote an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Senators 
Johnson, Portman, and McCain with Senators Lieberman, Akaka, 
Carper, Pryor, McCaskill, Begich, Collins, Brown, Johnson, and 
Moran present. The substitute authorized the ABTC program 
through fiscal year 2018, removed a section that authorized 
appropriations, and clarified that the costs of establishing 
the program are to be paid for by fees. The Committee adopted 
the bill, as amended, by voice vote, with Senators Lieberman, 
Akaka, Carper, Pryor, McCaskill, Begich, Collins, Brown, 
Johnson, and Moran present.

                    IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section names the Act the ``Asia-Pacific Economic 
Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act of 2011.''

Section 2. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards

    (a) This subsection authorizes the Secretary of Homeland 
Security, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to issue 
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Cards 
and, as amended by the substitute, gives the Department of 
Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to issue these cards 
through the end of fiscal year 2018. The APEC Business Travel 
Cards (ABTC) may be issued to any eligible person, which 
includes business leaders and U.S. Government officials who are 
actively engaged in APEC business, and who have been approved 
and are in good standing with a current DHS international 
trusted traveler program.
    (b) This subsection authorizes DHS to integrate the ABTC 
program with other appropriate international trusted traveler 
programs under the jurisdiction of DHS, and requires that ABTC 
holders remain in good standing with DHS' international trusted 
traveler program.
    (c) This subsection authorizes DHS to consult with private 
sector entities if deemed necessary by the Department.
    (d) This subsection authorizes the Secretary of Homeland 
Security, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to 
prescribe such regulations as necessary to carry out this 
program.
    (e) This subsection authorizes the Secretary of Homeland 
Security to establish and collect a fee for each ABTC and to 
adjust the fee in order to fully cover both the direct and 
indirect costs associated with implementing this program. The 
substitute amendment further directs the Secretary to ensure 
that fee collections are sufficient to fully offset the cost of 
establishing the program. The fees shall be placed into an 
account in the Treasury and used to offset expenses.
    (f) This subsection provides for the termination of the 
ABTC program if deemed necessary by the Secretary of Homeland 
Security, in coordination with the Secretary of State.

                    V. ESTIMATED COST OF LEGISLATION

                                                  November 3, 2011.
Hon. Joseph I. Lieberman,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1487, the Asia-
Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card Act of 2011.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

S. 1487--Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act of 
        2011

    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1487 would cost about $2 
million in fiscal year 2012, subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds. Enacting the bill also would affect direct 
spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, 
CBO estimates that any such effects would be insignificant for 
each year. S. 1487 would not affect revenues.
    S. 1487 would authorize the Department of Homeland Security 
(DHS), through the end of fiscal year 2018, to issue a special 
business card to certain persons who are employed in 
international commerce involving the United States and 
countries in Asia. The card would allow those persons to 
expedite their travel to several countries. The bill would 
permit DHS to charge a fee to cover the costs of carrying out 
this program.
    Based on information from DHS, CBO estimates that, assuming 
the availability of appropriated funds, the agency would spend 
about $2 million in 2012 to establish the new program, 
including costs to develop and test software, and test computer 
systems. In 2012 and subsequent years, the department expects 
to collect a fee of about $100 from a few thousand participants 
per year. Thus, we estimate that DHS would collect and spend 
less than $500,000 annually in most years to operate the 
program, so there would be no significant net effect on direct 
spending in any year.
    S. 1487 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                  VI. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the Rule. The Congressional Budget Office states that the 
bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates 
as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not 
affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.

       VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    S. 1487, as amended and reported, does not make changes to 
existing law.