Flag of China.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
An Israeli-Chinese agreement instituting a 10-year, multi-entry visa to facilitate business and tourist travel between the two countries is set to go into effect on November 11, a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday, following complaints from China that Israel was dragging its feet.
Chinese officials told The Jerusalem Post that Israel's bureaucracy was holding up the deal, signed in March in Jerusalem by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong.
According to a Foreign Ministry spokesman, however, while in China international treaties are ratified before they are signed, in Israel the opposite is the case: treaties are first signed and then taken to the Knesset for ratification.
This particular treaty, he said, was ratified by the Knesset in July, which he said was a relatively short period after it was signed, The two countries, he added, agreed from the start that implementation would take place 90 days after ratification to allow authorities in both countries to prepare for the new arrangement.
China has this type of multiple-entry visa with only two other countries – the US and Canada – while this will be the first type of arrangement of this nature that Israel has with any other other state.
The new, simplified visa regiment is expected to make travel significantly easier between the two countries, thereby enhancing business and tourism between the two countries that is expanding year by year.
Trade in 2015 reached more than $9 billion, double the amount in 2007. And regarding tourism, some 39,000 Chinese visited Israel from January to July, compared to some 25,000 during the same period in 2015.