Taiwan bid to join U.S. fast entry program not affected by travel ban

Taipei--Taiwan's plan to join the United States Global Entry program, which would allow Taiwanese travelers easier entry into the U.S., will not be affected by U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration ban, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.

Representatives of the U.S. and Taiwan signed a joint statement last April regarding Taiwan's participation in the Global Entry program, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the U.S.

Citizens from the participating countries may clear U.S. immigration by using the automated kiosks at 47 U.S. airports and 13 other pre-clearance locations.

The program is currently available to citizens from seven countries -- the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, Mexico and Canada -- and more than 4.1 million people have used it to date.

In addition to Taiwan, eight other countries are currently in discussions with the U.S. on joining the program.

Following the signing of the joint statement with the U.S. last year, Taiwan may soon become the second Asian country and the eighth worldwide to formally join the program, according to the MOFA.

Taiwan was hoping to be admitted to the program six to eight months after signing the statement but it has been taking longer because the preparatory work is still in progress and a Taiwan application website that links into the U.S. system is still being developed, said Christine Hsueh (???), director general of the MOFA's Department of North American Affairs.

Speaking to reporters, Hsueh said Taiwan's efforts to join the program would not be affected by Trump's executive order that banned citizens of seven countries from entering the U.S., since the two systems are unrelated.

The Global Entry program allows expedited immigration clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers, while the executive order is aimed at protecting the U.S. from foreign terrorist trying to enter the country, she said.

On Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order that indefinitely suspended the Syrian refugee program and banned entry for 90 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel