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Airline chief says UK dragging feet on China visas

12/14/2016| 4:29:16 PM|

Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways' parent IAG, has blasted the UK government for dragging its feet on introducing a new 10-year visa for Chinese visitors.

Walsh, who heads one of the world's largest multinational airline companies, including British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia, said: "The government needs to get its act together to make Britain attractive to the Chinese or we will continue to lose out on the economic benefits that they can bring to the UK."

In a recent news release he accused the UK government of going back on a promise, first delivered during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit in October 2015, to introduce a new 10-year multiple entry visa for Chinese visitors at no extra cost.

Walsh noted that the UK export market to China was worth almost 13 billion pounds in 2015 and stressed that more needs to be done to encourage trade links with the world's second-largest economy.

He said: "The U.S. already has a standard 10-year visa which costs around EUR100 while Britain's costs EUR800. The government needs to match its rhetoric on China with action."

The Australian government has also started granting 10-year multi-entry tourist visas to Chinese visitors, the Embassy of China in Australia announced on Saturday, November 19.

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TAGS: British Airways | IAG | China | visas
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