China, Malaysia agree to revise visa-free travel regime for each other’s citizens

China and Malaysia recently pledged to review the visa-free travel regime, which is set to expire in the coming months, during a visit by Chinese Premier Li Qiang to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

The two countries also agreed to renew a key five-year economic and trade cooperation agreement, VisaGuide.World reported.

The aforementioned programme was first introduced in 2013 and has now been extended until 2028. The programme holds promising prospects for strategic cooperation in various sectors, including trade and investment, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure and financial services.

Malaysia allows fresh durian exports to China

At the same time, China agreed to allow the import of fresh durian from Malaysia, provided hygiene requirements are met.

Malaysia, known as one of the world’s largest producers of the prickly and smelly fruit, was previously only allowed to export frozen fruits and products to China, which was expected to value exports worth RM1.19 billion (S$340 million) in 2023. China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009, with the foreign ministry saying total trade is estimated at RM98.9 billion (S$133.5 billion) in 2023.

The trip, his third in a row, also includes visits to New Zealand and Australia, with which China recently agreed visa-free travel deals, as China seeks to expand its influence and investment in the Asia-Pacific region amid geopolitical tensions and rivalry with the United States.

He is also scheduled to meet with Malaysia’s Sultan Ibrahim and attend an opening ceremony at the construction site of the East Coast Rail Transit (ECRL), part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The 665-km (413-mile) railway, which will cost 50 billion ringgits, will link the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia by the end of 2026, he said.

Malaysian tourists allowed to visit China for 30 days until 2025

Last month, Malaysia’s ambassador to China, Norman Muhamad, said China would extend visa-free travel for Malaysian tourists from 15 days to 30 days until the end of 2025.

The day after the decision was implemented, China’s National Immigration Administration revealed that 1,113 Malaysians had entered China.

However, in 2023, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced a 30-day visa-free entry for tourists from China and India from Dec 1, 2023 to the end of December 2024. Prior to this, China had also started allowing visa-free entry for Malaysian nationals from Dec 1, 2024 to Nov 30.

Malaysian officials said they expect to welcome about 5 million Chinese tourists by the end of this year, noting that this target is based on the current number of more than 247 weekly flights from China to Kuala Lumpur, with about 4.9 million seats available.

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