wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
09BEIJING817 2009-03-27 06:50:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Beijing
Cable title:  

SAOs: U.S. Companies Highlight Harm to U.S. Exports; Jobs

pdf how-to read a cable

1. (SBU) Summary: Presidents and CEOs of U.S. high-tech exporters
met with the CDA to express their concern that four-month-long waits
for visa issuances are having a serious negative impact on American
exports, and to discuss possible solutions. A delegation of former
American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) presidents from China plans to
travel to Washington next month and intends to raise this issue with
USG officials and Members of Congress. The AmCham also will address
SAO delays during their annual "Congressional Doorknock" visit.
(Note: The wait time for Mantis Security Advisory Opinion (SAO)
processing currently is about 16 weeks from the date of visa
interview for business applicants and 8 weeks for students and
scholars (ref A). End Note.) End summary.

Improvements Welcomed to Existing SAO Mantis Process


2. (SBU) On March 25, 2009, representatives of seven of the largest
U.S. companies in China gathered to discuss SAO Mantis delays.
Participants included the President of United Technologies
International Operations (UTIO) China, Senior Attorney for
Microsoft, President of Motorola China, Chief Representative of
Westinghouse Electric (Asia), President of Boeing China, CEO of
Cummins Engine (China), and Vice President of GE.

3. (SBU) CDA Piccuta emphasized the need to protect intellectual
property and noted that SAOs are essential to preventing
unauthorized technology transfer of U.S. technology. The Embassy
has worked closely with U.S. companies in China on facilitating
expedites when appropriate. He briefed on the current SAO Mantis
environment and informed the business leaders that the State
Department and clearing agencies continue to make SAO reform a
priority. For example, the State Consular Affairs Bureau (CA)
recently authorized issuance of one-year, multiple entry visas to
applicants subject to Mantis processing, replacing the previously
limiting three-month, one-entry visa for B1/B2 applicants (ref B).
He expressed hope that this change will alleviate partner clearing
agencies' workload in Washington, cut down on Non-Immigrant Visa
(NIV) workload at post, and benefit Chinese government officials and
business people who make multiple trips to different places in the
United States within one year. He also stated that Washington
clearing agencies are hiring more processors, and SAO Mantis waits
have declined slightly.

SAO Mantis Delays Threaten Exports and American Jobs


4. (SBU) The business participants expressed appreciation for the
extended visa validity change authorized by CA. However, they noted
that it does not alleviate the long wait times to obtain or renew a
visa subject to Mantis administrative processing. Further, some
participants showed concern that, while delays may be getting
shorter as new staff is hired, they could unpredictably expand again
in the future.

5. (SBU) U.S. companies are losing contracts due to the SAO delays,

BEIJING 00000817 002.2 OF 002

according to the American businesspeople. According to UTIO China
President, for example, a recent meeting between Ford Motor Company
and Chinese counterparts was delayed due to SAO Mantis processing
for participants. Many participants agreed that SAO Mantis
processing times limit cooperation on science and technology, slow
down business deals, and cost American jobs (Ref C). U.S. business
leaders strongly supported a specific, fixed timeframe for
administrative processing. (Note: these comments reiterated recent
messages from the U.S. business communities in New Delhi and Moscow
(Ref D). End Note.)

6. (SBU) The Charge acknowledged Embassy awareness that visa wait
times for travel to nations competing with American firms for sales
and contracts is significantly shorter. (Note: Currently, the time
from initial application until business visa issuance is 5 business
days for Japan, 7 business days for France, and 15-21 weeks for the
United States. End Note.)

Plans to Raise the Issue of Visa Delays in Washington


7. (SBU) The head of the Beijing AmCham briefed the Charge on plans
to send two delegations to Washington in the near future: a group of
former AmCham presidents, and the annual AmCham "Congressional
Doorknock" to discuss issues on the Hill. He stated that both of
these groups plan to raise the issue of SAO delays, and their impact
on U.S. exports and jobs. They will visit both Members of Congress
and U.S. Government officials.

8. (SBU) Comment: Post expects business executives in China to
continue the discussion about how to decrease SAO Mantis wait times
and increase American jobs. Executives in Beijing may communicate
with their U.S. parent companies, AmCham, and the U.S. Chamber to
ask for assistance in making their concerns known. Their apparent
message: exports are critical to job creation. In the face of the
economic downturn, smooth travel can facilitate American exports and
create American jobs. End comment.