Promoting Trade and Investment in the United States while Strengthening U.S. Interests in the Asia-Pacific Region

Support the Hirono-Lee legislation to extend E-1 and E-2 temporary entry visas to New Zealand to promote trade and investment in the United States from New Zealand, and to strengthen U.S. foreign policy interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • The United States will benefit from increased investment and trade with New Zealand.  Today, investment from New Zealand supports 10,900 American jobs.  New Zealand businesses have indicated that lack of visas was a dominant factor limiting further investment in the United States.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, between 2003 and 2012, New Zealand firms announced investment projects in the United States valued at $94.3 million and estimated to create 577 U.S. jobs.
  • Extending trade and investment visas to New Zealand would strengthen the United States bilateral relationship with New Zealand, a critical strategic, military, and economic partner in the Asia-Pacific region.  The United States is seeking to increase engagement with the Asia-Pacific region, the so called “pivot to Asia,” through initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in which New Zealand is participating.  Extending trade and investment visas would bolster the bilateral relationship, increase foreign investment, and strengthen America’s presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Extending trade and investment visas to New Zealand is consistent with past practices.  Trade and investment visas are widely available – more than 50 countries have access to E-1 (trade) visas, and more than 80 countries have access to E-2 (investor) visas.

  • Historically, the United States extended trade and investment visas to any country possessing a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation with the United States.  Although these treaties historically served as common instruments of international diplomacy, the United States generally does not enter into these types of treaties today, even with key strategic partners.  Under current law and practice, changes in visa policy must come by congressional action.
  • New Zealand visa legislation is consistent with precedent.  In 2012, Congress extended E-1 and E-2 visas to Israel through legislation (H.R. 3992, 112th Cong.).

E-1 and E-2 visas directly promote economic growth and jobs in the United States.

  • The State Department closely regulates E-1 and E-2 visas to ensure that investment or trade with the United States is significant enough to warrant issuing a visa.  The trade or investment must be substantial, and investment must be real (not speculative).