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Olympics security poses visa problems.

Byline: Arab News

JEDDAH: The new measures adopted by the Chinese authorities to provide security to the Olympic Games in Beijing on Aug. 8-24, including restrictions in granting entry visas, have caused havoc among Saudi merchants and importers, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported yesterday, quoting Saudi businessmen.

Nabeel Bafadul, a Saudi businessman, told the newspaper that it was anticipated that Olympics would cause some difficulty in obtaining entry visas to China but did not expect the restrictions to be so severe.

Officials at the Chinese Consulate in Jeddah cannot be reached for comment, but the daily quoted an unidentified source at the consulate as saying that these measures were being applied on all countries, not just Saudi Arabia.

"The difficulty in obtaining the entry visa has interrupted our work and forced many of us to reschedule previous commitments," Bafadul said, adding that he expected the restrictions to be limited to the city of Beijing and not to extend to other destinations.

"We are keen to be physically present in these cities, visit the factories there and see their new products," he said.

Anwar Qashgari, another Saudi businessman, agreed with Bafadul and said there has been a complete halt now on the issuance of visas to China. "If you do not already have an entry visa, you cannot get one now," he said.

He said he had applied for a visa before the new restrictions and was only given six months. "This is not enough as we have to visit many Chinese cities to see the products that we import in their places of origin," he said.

Copyright: Arab News A[umlaut] 2003 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Aug 3, 2008
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