US, China agree to extend length of visas for tourists, students in bid to boost economic ties

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

The United States and China are agreeing to make it easier for tourists, students and businesspeople to visit each other's countries.

President Barack Obama is announcing the new visa agreement during a speech to business leaders and Asian CEOs in Beijing. He says the U.S. and Asia are inextricably linked. He's calling Asia an incredible opportunity to create jobs in the U.S.

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Under the agreement, U.S. and Chinese citizens will be able to obtain business and short-term tourist visas valid for 10 years, up from one year currently. Student and exchange visas will be made valid for five years instead of one year.

The U.S. plans to start issuing the new visas Wednesday. The White House says the agreement could inject billions into the U.S. economy.