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Hirono: India’s Inclusion in Global Entry Is Good for Hawaii

Program Allows Expedited Screening for Trusted Travelers, Bolstering Tourism & National Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that India has been officially added to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Entry Program, which means that Indian citizens can now apply for expedited customs clearance for visiting the United States. Senator Hirono led a bipartisan letter to encourage the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to add India to the Global Entry Program in time for Hawaii’s busy summer travel season.

“India’s inclusion in the Global Entry Program further deepens U.S. ties to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, and allows CBP to direct security resources to where they are needed most,” said Senator Hirono. “I appreciate the action by CBP to finalize India’s participation in the Global Entry Program, which will benefit Hawaii’s visitor industry in time for Hawaii’s busy summer travel season.”

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, approximately 1.2 million citizens of India visited the United States in 2016 and spent $13 billion, making India among the top ten markets for U.S. travel and tourism exports.

The letter was co-signed by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

Senator Hirono is a longtime advocate of expanding the Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs to grow Hawaii’s international visitor industry. Senator Hirono led similar efforts in support of Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore’s inclusion in the Global Entry Program. Singapore’s inclusion was finalized in June 2016.

India joins Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Switzerland, and Argentina in CBP’s Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs.

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, and the U.S.-India Business Council supported Senator Hirono’s effort:

“We are pleased with Senator Hirono’s leadership in writing a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security in support of India’s inclusion in the Global Entry Program,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. “The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii supports initiatives that encourage economic growth in our state, particularly with international markets like India that are projected to continue to grow in the immediate and long-term, with direct and indirect contributions to our GDP and employment.”

“India presents an exciting new opportunity for Hawaii to benefit from travel and trade between our nations,” said Mufi Hannemann, President and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. “Just as we’ve done with Japan and Korea, and more recently with Taiwan and Singapore, this proposed expansion of the federal government’s Global Entry program would come as welcome news as we seek to find promising travel and trade markets. The 700-plus members of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association join me in commending Senator Hirono for her leadership in this bipartisan initiative and encourage the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the approval process. With its rapidly expanding economy, India has the potential to emerge as an important source of leisure and business travel, and entry into the Global Entry program will stimulate and support this growth as well as bolster the security cooperation between our two countries.”

“The U.S.-India Business Council applauds Senator Hirono’s leadership and efforts to urge the Department of Homeland Security to expedite India's participation in the Global Entry program,” said Khush Choksy, Senior Vice President and Acting President of the U.S.-India Business Council. “India's entry into the Global Entry program is a meaningful opportunity to further elevate the U.S.-India relationship. India is one of the world's fastest growing outbound travel and tourism markets, with over one million Indian tourists visiting the U.S. since 2015 and spending over $10 billion to support the U.S. travel and tourism export market. For a growing Indian diaspora in the U.S. -- currently over three million -- this is a welcome move to solidify people-to-people ties as well. Allowing an expedited clearance for pre-approved Indian travelers will provide a big boost to the U.S.-India 2017 Travel and Tourism Partnership.”