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Taiwan expands visa-free rules to Asian tourists

THE Republic of China (Taiwan) will expand the simplified visa regulations starting June 1 for South and Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines,  the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

On April 12, the Republic of China (Taiwan) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)  issued a statement announcing their decision after a two-day interagency meeting, expanding the coverage of its visa-free privileges.
   
The program aims to enhance exchanges and cooperation across the board with countries covered by the government’s New Southbound Policy.
   
One of the key components of President Tsai Ing-wen’s national development strategy, the initiative seeks to deepen agricultural, business, cultural, education, trade and tourism links with Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
   
According to the ministry, the visa-free privileges starting last August on a 12-month trial basis to qualified citizens from Brunei and Thailand will be extended to July 31 next year. The same treatment offered to citizens of the Philippines under a one-year trial.
   
Citing statistics from the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the MOFA said visitor arrivals from Brunei and Thailand rose 52 percent and 57 percent, respectively, last year. The number surged to nearly 92 percent during the first two months of 2017.
 
Another new measure will allow citizens of Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam who meet certain requirements to apply online for an ROC Travel Authorization Certificate, which allows single stays of up to 30 days and multiple entries within a period of three months.