Canada ‘to profit’ from US passport ruling

Continued US determination to introduce biometric passports could see it lose C&I business to its neighbour Canada. Despite calls from the EU to delay the move until 2006, passports issued after 26 October must be biometric even though only six European states, not including the UK, will be ready to handle them. Travellers with newly issued non-biometric passports must get visas. "Organising visas for delegates from different countries will be a logistical nightmare," said Euro RSCG Skybridge chairman Randle Stonier. "North America will retain its appeal though so Canada could gain some US business." Talking Point director Paul Ratcliffe agreed: "It again shows how insular the US is. Any barrier on travel is detrimental." However, Travel Industry Association of America director of government affairs Rick Webster said the US government is looking to solve the problem by agreeing an extension or an interim solution. "The US understands the potential damage to its economy and reputation," he said. "So it is looking for a solution."

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