Wednesday, May 24, 2017

China Spends $16.5B on US Commercial Real Estate in 12 Months to Claim Top Investor Spot

(Source: Mingtiandi) China surpassed Canada as the top investor in US commercial real estate in the 12 months ending March 31st – pouring over $16.5 billion into properties in the world’s largest economy, according to a recent report. Read more at http://www.mingtiandi.com/

Beijing Crackdown Cuts Chinese Investments in US Assets

(Source: The Epoch Times) Chinese investments in the United States reached a new record in 2016, more than tripling the previous year’s. However, the pace of investments has begun to cool in 2017, following a crackdown in China on capital outflows. Read more at http://www.theepochtimes.com/

Learn China's new banking policy and its impact on EB-5 program

As Chinese government will soon implement new banking rules on foreign currency exchange and tighter controls on out-flowing capital, investments from China in real estate and EB-5 program will likely be slower in 2017 and next year. At the 2017 New Regulations and Trends: China Outbound Investments Seminar we will be discussing the following topics that will concern Chinese investments to USA.  The workshop is taking place on June 6, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  You can register at https://2017investusa.eventbrite.com

Main Topics:
  • "The Belt and Road" initiatives & USA
  • Must-know trends for 2017 and beyond
  • New regulations and restrictions (to be effective July 1) on outbound investments
  • New trends in emerging industry sectors
  • New trends of EB-5 alternative financing under new legislation
  • Challenges and solutions for outbound investments from China

China's CIC plans more direct investments in U.S.

(Source: Reuters) May 20 China's sovereign wealth fund has opened a New York office and plans to make more direct investments in the United States, with its head of the fund saying foreign investment can help advance U.S. President Donald Trump's economic agenda.   Read more at http://www.reuters.com/

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Big Read: China's road to the future

(Source: NZ Herald) Cash has been committed, promises have been made and leaders' hands have been shaken. But for all the buzz in Beijing about China's "Belt and Road Initiative", scepticism still dogs the vast trade and infrastructure programme. The initiative, unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013, is touted as a visionary scheme to build infrastructure and expand trade throughout Asia, Africa and Europe.  Read more at  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/

2017 New Regulations and Trends: China Outbound Investments Seminar is taking place on June 6, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  Please register online today at https://2017investusa.eventbrite.com

Chinese investors turn back to home market

(Source: Global Times) China's overseas mergers and acquisitions (M&As) have registered a continuous increase in recent years. In 2016, China's outbound direct investment in the non-financial sector surged 44 percent to hit a record high of $170 billion. It is worth mentioning that China's outbound investment in real estate soared 53 percent in 2016, reaching $33 billion.

However, the growth in China's overseas investment has witnessed a downward trend in 2017. Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed that during the first quarter of 2017, Chinese investors made non-financial direct investments in 2,170 foreign companies, with total investment amounting to $20.54 billion, down 48.8 percent year-on-year. According to a report issued by PwC on April 20, there were 142 overseas M&A transactions made by Chinese mainland companies during the first quarter of 2017, totaling $21.1 billion, down 39 percent and 77 percent, respectively, compared with the same period last year. Read more at http://www.globaltimes.cn/


2017 New Regulations and Trends: China Outbound Investments Seminar is taking place on June 6, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  Please register online today at https://2017investusa.eventbrite.com

No sign of easing in capital controls even as China’s overseas shopping spree continues, experts say

(Source: South China Morning Post) Beijing shows no signs of loosening its capital controls on overseas investments even as more Chinese firms pour into the European and American real estate markets. “I don’t see any relaxation of policies. They’re still very strict,” said Paul Guan, a partner with global law firm Paul Hastings, which specialises in advising Chinese institutional investors on outbound real estate investments. Read more at http://www.scmp.com/

2017 New Regulations and Trends: China Outbound Investments Seminar is taking place on June 6, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  Please register online today at https://2017investusa.eventbrite.com

Chinese Investors Among Majority Of EB-5 Visa Recipients

(Source: Delaware Public Media) an interview with Chinese investor, read more at http://delawarepublic.org/

Monday, May 22, 2017

Building a Great Wall around money from China

(Source: The Real Deal) After years of unloading massive amounts of cash in NYC, Chinese investors are now pulling back amid new capital controls out of Beijing. Read more at https://therealdeal.com/

Sunday, May 21, 2017

How to Woo Chinese Investors: With Visa Offers and the Trump Name

(Source: New York Times) For Chinese citizens, American green cards can be notoriously difficult to obtain. But a Beijing immigration company called Qiaowai tells visa applicants of a secret weapon: It is working on behalf of a real estate firm owned by the family of President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. Read more at https://www.nytimes.com/

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Victims of alleged U.S. visa fraud sue to get their money back

(Source: LA Times) Desiring an American education for his children, William Li said he put $500,000 into a visa program that provides green cards in exchange for job-creating investments in the U.S. After giving his money to the California Investment Immigrant Fund in 2011, the Chinese businessman took annual trips to Los Angeles. Each time, he said, a representative would take him on a tour of various vacant sites around Rancho Cucamonga and assure him the developments were on track.  Read the story at http://www.latimes.com/

Friday, May 19, 2017

Kushners tap China's $24 BILLION 'golden visa' market that lets foreigners get green cards by investing in the US

(Source: Daily Mail) When Jared Kushner's sister promoted investing in her family's new skyscraper from a Beijing hotel ballroom this month, she wasn't just raising money for her business. She was also pitching a controversial visa program used by the US and other countries that's made $24 billion from China worldwide over the past decade.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New termination of EB-5 regional centers

The following EB-5 regional centers have been recently terminated by USCIS.
  • North American Center for Foreign Investments, LLC (California) Terminated May 1, 2017
  • Westgate Orlando Regional Center, LLC (Florida) Terminated May 1, 2017
  • New York Green Hotel Regional Center LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York) Terminated May 1, 2017
  • DRC Capital Partners, LLC (Arizona) Terminated May 1, 2017
  • E&W Lake Tahoe Regional Center LLC (California) Terminated May 1, 2017
  • ACIC Management, Inc. Regional Center (Washington) Terminated May 1, 2017
  • PetroSam, LLC (Texas) Terminated May 1, 2017
  • Alaska Gold & Mining Regional Center, LLC (Alaska) Terminated April 21, 2017 Liberty West Regional Center (Arizona, California) Terminated April 19, 2017

Chinese spent $24B on investor visas over last decade

(Source: The Real Deal) More than 100,000 Chinese nationals spent at least $24 billion on foreign visa programs over the last decade, a new analysis found. Read more at https://therealdeal.com/

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

PolitiFact Sheet: Jared Kushner, Kushner Companies, EB-5 visas and Chinese investors

(Source: Politifact) A widely criticized immigrant investor program is back in the spotlight after the sister of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, courted investors for a family real estate project. Read the story at http://www.politifact.com/

Monday, May 15, 2017

China invests $124bn in Belt and Road global trade project

(Source: BBC) China's President Xi Jinping has pledged $124bn for the scheme, known as the Belt and Road initiative. "Trade is the important engine of economic development," Mr Xi said at a summit of world leaders in Beijing.

The plan, which aims to expand trade links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond, was first unveiled in 2013. Part of the massive funding boost, which is aimed at strengthening China's links with its trading partners, includes 60bn yuan ($9bn) in aid to developing countries and international institutions that form part of the Belt and Road project. Read the report at http://www.bbc.com/

2017 New Regulations and Trends: China Outbound Investments Seminar (Chicago) opens registration

2017 New Regulations and Trends: China Outbound Investments Seminar is taking place on June 6, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  Please register online today at https://2017investusa.eventbrite.com

Main Topics:
  •  Xi-Trump Meeting and its impact on Sino-US relationship
  • "The Belt and Road" initiatives & USA
  • Must-know trends for 2017 and beyond
  • New regulations and restrictions (to be effective July 1) on outbound investments
  • New trends in emerging industry sectors
  • New trends of EB-5 alternative financing under new legislation
  • Challenges and solutions for outbound investments from China

Reform the Scandal-Plagued EB-5 Visa Program

(Source: National Review) Nicole Kushner Meyer’s troubling pitch to Chinese investors — invest in her real-estate project, get a U.S. visa — has inadvertently performed a public service: She’s brought much-needed attention to the scandal-plagued EB-5 visa program, and added yet another compelling reason to overhaul it.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/

Chinese say Trump ties are 'biggest selling point' in Kushner investment

(Source: CNN Money)  The Kushner family's real estate company is still trawling China for people to invest in one of its American development ventures -- just not in person. Read CNN's report at http://money.cnn.com/

Sunday, May 14, 2017

China pledges more than $100 billion in Belt and Road projects

(Source: CNBC) China is pledging more than $100 billion to finance projects under its "One Belt, One Road" strategy, an ambitious initiative to strengthen the world's second-largest economy's investment, influence and trade links to the rest of the globe. "China will endeavor to build a win-win business partnership with other countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative," President Xi Jinping said in his opening speech at a two-day forum on the plan. "These efforts are designed to promote growth both in our respective regions and globally."  Read the story at http://www.cnbc.com/

The EB-5 Visa: United States Citizenship For Sale?

(Source: Forbes) On Friday, May 7, 2017, President Trump signed his first piece of major legislation. H.R. 244, or the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017 (HIRES Act of 2017), is better known as the Appropriations Act. The purpose of the bill was to keep the lights on and avoid a government shutdown. But buried in the bill is language focusing on something else altogether: visas. And the visa attracting the most attention is an immigrant visa known as the EB-5.  Read more at https://www.forbes.com/

Behind Kushner Companies, a Chinese agency skirts visa-for-investment rules

(Source: Reuters) While Jared Kushner's family company apologized this week for mentioning the White House adviser's name when wooing Chinese investors to fund a New Jersey real estate project, one Chinese immigration agency was touting its role in the deal. For Beijing-based Qiaowai, which organized the roadshow for Kushner Companies' One Journal Square project, the pitch was a chance to highlight its U.S. political connections. Shortly into the roadshow, the company posted photos on social media saying the events had prompted a "buying rush". Read the report at http://www.reuters.com/

Qiaowai's official website at http://www.iqiaowai.com/

Chinese agency Qiaowai is still selling its ties to the White House

(Source: The Real Deal) Reacting to backlash over its pitch to Chinese EB-5 investors, Kushner Companies executives decided to not take part in a roadshow to promote the company’s One Journal Square project this weekend. But that hasn’t stopped Beijing-based Qiaowai, the migration agency that organized the roadshow, from pitching its U.S. political connections, according to Reuters. Read the report at https://therealdeal.com/

Saturday, May 13, 2017

America’s Princeling: Why Chinese Elites Love Jared Kushner

(Source: The Daily Beast) HONG KONG—Chinese consumers are a finicky bunch. Plenty of American businesses have attempted to break into China, but a mixture of cross-cultural flops, unpredictable and rapid changes in tastes, and tight government regulation has brought down the likes of Home Depot and Best Buy, and thwarted the global domination of tech giants like Facebook and Google.  Read the report at http://www.thedailybeast.com/

Chinese investors mixed on Kushner project

(Source: Global Times) Wealthy Chinese investors are mixed on pouring millions of dollars into a property development project linked to the family of Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law, in exchange for permanent residency.

Around 150 mostly middle-aged Chinese investors attended a roadshow presentation on Saturday of two-tower luxury apartment project Kushner 1 or One Journal Square in New Jersey at the in Intercontinental Hotel in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province.

During the three-hour presentation, a dozen more investors kept swarming in. Investors were told that the EB-5 immigration investment program calls for an investment of $500,000 each to fast-track a US green card.

The roadshow seeks to raise $150 million, or 15.4 percent of the project funding from wealthy Chinese. See report at
 http://www.globaltimes.cn/

Friday, May 12, 2017

Grassley Pushes for Quick Executive Actions to Curb EB-5 Visa Abuse

(Source:  Senator Chuck Grassley) WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley called on the Homeland Security Secretary to expedite proposed regulations targeting abuse and national security concerns in the EB-5 investor visa program, and to clarify that the department is processing EB-5 applications in a fair and transparent manner.  The request follows a recent extension of the EB-5 program without any reforms and a reported pitch by Kushner Companies implying that potential investors should invest soon to avoid changes in program rules.

The EB-5 program, which has been riddled with well-documented fraud and national security vulnerabilities, was extended last week without any reforms, despite efforts by Grassley and others to restore integrity in the program. Regulations proposed by the Obama Administration and under consideration by the Trump Administration would address some of the program’s weaknesses. Investors typically face a two-year wait for the limited number of EB-5 visas. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Grassley pointed out that, given the backlog of applicants, new investors would be subject to the program’s rules at the time their visas become available, despite the comments made by representatives of Kushner Companies.

“As you know, EB-5 applicants ordinarily wait at least two years for a petition to be processed and for visas to become available.  Ms. Meyer’s statements, however, could seem to imply that foreign nationals who invest with the Kushner Company will receive special treatment and expedited approval.  It is appropriate for the Department to clarify and affirm that no foreign investors will receive preferential treatment, that applications will be processed in the order in which they are received—subject to any existing backlog—and that future applications will be subject to the proposed regulations, when approved,” Grassley said in the letter.   

In the letter, Grassley called on the Trump Administration to continue moving forward with the regulations in an open and transparent manner.

Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, the previous CEO of Kushner Companies, has divested from Kushner Companies, in compliance with Office of Government Ethics requirements.

May 10, 2017
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

The Honorable John Kelly                                                                   
Secretary                                                                    
U.S. Department of Homeland Security                     
Washington, D.C. 20528         
                            
Dear Secretary Kelly:

I am writing to request clarification of the Department’s position regarding the processing of EB-5 petitions in light of recent statements by Nicole Kushner Meyer, and that you move expeditiously to approve the proposed regulations that correct serious flaws in the EB-5 program.  I’m sure you’re aware that Ms. Meyer recently made a pitch to potential real estate investors in Beijing at an event hosted by a Chinese company working with the Kushner Company to raise funds for a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey.  In her speech, Ms. Meyer touted the EB-5 “golden visa,” which permits investors of $500,000 or more to obtain a U.S. green card, and alluded to her brother Jared Kushner’s White House position in a manner that some say was improperly suggestive.[1]  One of Ms. Meyer’s colleagues urged attendees to “invest early, and you will invest under the old rules.”[2]

As you know, EB-5 applicants ordinarily wait at least two years for a petition to be processed and for visas to become available.  Ms. Meyer’s statements, however, could seem to imply that foreign nationals who invest with the Kushner Company will receive special treatment and expedited approval.  It is appropriate for the Department to clarify and affirm that no foreign investors will receive preferential treatment, that applications will be processed in the order in which they are received—subject to any existing backlog—and that future applications will be subject to the proposed regulations, when approved.  

As I have noted on many occasions, the EB-5 program desperately needs to be reformed.  Numerous sources have documented rampant corruption, fraud, and national security risks.  For example, the FBI recently raided a California regional center that defrauded investors out of millions of dollars while facilitating dozens of fraudulently obtained green cards, including several procured for investors who are on a Chinese government list of most-wanted fugitives.[3]  Others “invested” money loaned to them for a fee by the regional center, and “[n]o real construction took place at any of the proposed project locations[.]”[4]  About 30 of the investors received some or all their money back—amounting to about $10 million—but concealed the refunds from U.S. officials and have continued to pursue legal permanent residence.  Among many other examples, over the past five years the Securities and Exchange Commission has pursued cases involving hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent investment schemes, and in 2013 ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit warned of serious national security and technology proliferation concerns.[5]  These abuses are amplified because investment levels—which have remained static since 1990—and egregious gerrymandering of Targeted Investment Areas, rob the U.S. economy of billions of dollars each year.[6]

The American people are relying on you to prevent fraud, promote security, and protect the homeland.  DHS’s efforts in implementing new regulations to that effect are integral to strengthening program integrity and benefitting the U.S. economy.  I strongly support the proposed regulations, and support the Trump administration’s efforts to move forward with implementing these necessary changes in an open, and transparent manner.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this request. If you have any questions, please contact me or Katherine Nikas or Brad Watts of my Judiciary Committee staff at (202) 224-5225.
Sincerely,
                                                                       
                                                                        Charles E. Grassley
                                                                        Chairman                                                        
Cc: The Honorable Mick Mulvaney
       Director
       U.S. Office of Management and Budget




[1] Wang, Serenitie, and Wattles, Jackie, Kushner Family in Beijing: ‘Invest $500,000 and Immigrate’ to US, May 7, 2017 CNN Money, available at http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/06/news/jared-kushner-nicole-family-event/.
[2] Rauhala, Emily and Wan, William, In a Beijing Ballroom, Kushner Family Pushes $500,000 ‘investor visa’ to Wealthy Chinese, May 6, 2017 Wash. Post, available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-a-beijing-ballroom-kushner-family-flogs-500000-investor-visa-to-wealthy-chinese/2017/05/06/cf711e53-eb49-4f9a-8dea-3cd836fcf287_story.html?utm_term=.e4a369c60662.
[3] Ltr from Chmn. Grassley to Secy Kelly Apr. 20, 2017, Regarding fraudulent EB-5 regional center available at https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/newly-discovered-eb-5-scam-highlights-fraud-national-security-weaknesses-need; see also Taxin, Amy, Federal Agents Raid California Business in Green Card Probe, Assoc. Press, Apr. 5, 2017 available at: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/5fbbaa40917d40d2b6c0f3a618efecd3/federal-agents-raid-california-business-green-card-probe; Levin, Dan and Saul, Stephanie, Charged With Graft in China, Some Fugitives Are Finding Luxury in U.S., May 15, 2015 NY Times, available at https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/16/world/asia/china-hunts-fugitives-accused-of-corruption-many-in-us.html.
[4] Taxin, supra note 3.
[5] Undated memo, EB-5 Program Questions from DHS Secretary, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
[6] According to information provided by the Law Library of Congress in 2015, other leading investor visa programs generally require investments much higher than the U.S.  Australia requires an investment of at least AU $1.5 million (approximately US $1.1 million)(investor  stream), AU $5 million (approximately US $3.6 million)(significant investor stream), or AU $15 million (approximately US $10.8 million)(premium  investor stream).  Canada requires an investment of at least CAN $2 million (approximately US $1.4 million) and a personal net worth of CAN $10-50 million (approximately US $7.2-36 million).  The United Kingdom requires an investment of at least £2 million (approximately US $2.9 million), and provides expedited citizenship for investors who have invested at least £5-10 million (approximately US $7.4-14.7 million) or have personal assets of at least £10-20 million (approximately US $14.7- million) and at least £5-10 million under their control and disposable in the UK that has been loaned by a UK-regulated financial institution.

Kushner execs pull out of EB-5 roadshow amid ethics fracas

(Source: The Real Deal) Amid backlash over its pitch to Chinese EB-5 investors, Kushner Companies executives won’t take part in a roadshow to promote the company’s One Journal Square project this weekend. Read the story at https://therealdeal.com/

June 6: 2017 New Regulations and Trends: China Outbound Investments Seminar (Chicago)

2017 New Regulations and Trends: China Outbound Investments Seminar is taking place on June 6, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  The much-anticipated Chinese outbound investment workshop will bring together executives and professionals for a day of high level discussion, peer to peer exchanges and one on one networking sessions. The workshop will focus on reviewing new regulatory changes, restrictions and alternative solutions. We will also cover some of the latest developments and issues of Chinese outbound investment.  

Program Topics:
  •  Xi-Trump Meeting and its impact on Sino-US relationship
  • "The Belt and Road" initiatives & USA
  • Must-know trends for 2017 and beyond
  • New regulations and restrictions (to be effective July 1) on outbound investments
  • New trends in emerging industry sectors
  • New trends of EB-5 alternative financing under new legislation
  • Challenges and solutions for outbound investments from China

Please contact us at artisanbusiness@yahoo.com or register online at https://2017investusa.eventbrite.com

Thursday, May 11, 2017

US firm targets Indians with the “Golden Visa” EB5 in uncertain H1-B times

(Source: India New England News) As confusion looms over the future of the H1-B visa programme, an investment-facilitating firm is targeting rich Indians with the EB5 visa, popularly known as the “Golden Visa”, that promises a faster route to US citizenship.
The US Immigration Fund (USIF), which launched its Indian operations this year, is confident that affluent Indians who invest half a million dollars or more in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) — creating 10 or more jobs — under the EB5 visa programme, will get US citizenship in a shorter time compared to the H1-B visa programme. Please read report at http://indianewengland.com/

Texas Senator’s Proposal Would Expand Scandal-plagued EB-5 Visa Program

(Source: Breitbart Texas) Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is looking to expand the number of wealthy foreign nationals who can pay their way to permanent legal residency in the U.S. under the EB-5 visa.

Cornyn is floating draft legislation that would essentially erase the current cap for EB-5 visas, which is set at 10,000 a year. Under the EB-5 visa, foreign nationals can claim that they will invest $500,000 and thus receive Green Cards for their family for at least two years, with pathways to citizenship available as well. The only requirement is that the EB-5 holder create 10 U.S. jobs. Read report at http://www.breitbart.com

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Kushner Family Dealings Prompt Call To Reform EB-5 Visa Program

(Source: NPR) NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Steve Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law practice at Cornell University, about changes he thinks Congress should make to the EB-5 "investment immigration" program. Read report at http://www.npr.org/

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What You Need to Know About EB-5 Visas

(Source: VOA) The EB-5 program allows entrepreneurs and their families to apply for green cards (permanent residence) if they 1) make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States, and 2) plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers. Read FAQs at https://www.voanews.com/