Sunday, March 4, 2018

Companies allowed to issue B&R bonds

(Source: China Daily) China's securities regulator said on Friday that it will allow domestic and overseas companies to issue bonds in the onshore stock exchanges to finance projects related with the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges will carry out the pilot B&R bond program. Government-backed institutions in economies participating in the B&R initiative can also sell bonds in China, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or CSRC.
"The CSRC will continue to push the opening-up of the bond market at the country's stock exchanges, and facilitate international cooperation and financing under the B&R initiative," CSRC spokeswoman Gao Li said at a news conference in Beijing.

The move is the latest effort of China to further open its capital markets and to boost investment and financing for regional infrastructure development under the B&R initiative.
Seven domestic and overseas companies have gained the regulatory approval to issue B&R bonds worth a total of 50 billion yuan ($7.9 billion) and four of them have already raised 3.5 billion yuan through their bond issuances, according to the CSRC.

Last March, Russian aluminum producer UC Rusal issued renminbi-denominated bonds worth 1 billion yuan at the Shanghai Stock Exchange, becoming the first company from an economy involved in the B&R initiative to sell bonds in China.

In January, Chinese cement producer Hongshi Group raised 300 million yuan through its bond offering at the Shanghai Stock Exchange to fund its projects in Laos. The group was the first Chinese company to issue B&R bonds at the stock exchange, according to the CSRC.

Fang Xinghai, vice-chairman of the CSRC, earlier said that the regulator will encourage good-quality companies to float shares and issue bonds in the Chinese capital market and will work to ensure the financing for projects under the B&R initiative. The regulator will take advantage of both onshore and offshore markets to support domestic and international companies' financing activities for the development of the B&R initiative, Fang said.

Join us at Belt and Road Initiative Investment Forum in Washington DC on March 14, 2018, register at

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

One Belt, One Road Policy to affect Global Trade

In 2014, China established the $40 billion Silk Road Fund to finance their One Belt, One Road initiative and they have made investments in several key projects since its inception to put total costs closer to $1 trillion.  According to McKinsey & Company, more than 60 countries and 200 enterprises, with a combined GDP of $21 trillion, have expressed interest in participating in the One Belt, One Road action plan. The Belt and Road Initiative will provide businesses across the world the opportunity to compete and transform the global economy. China plans to transform global infrastructure with this 21st century ambitious initiative.

There is a lot of hope for the Belt and Road Initiative across Asia and also some skeptics about the true intent of the plan. The Hoover Institution at Stanford University proclaims “The One Belt, One Road initiative certainly has the potential to enhance Beijing’s political influence while hopefully (from China’s  perspective) reducing concerns that Beijing will employ such greater influence in threatening ways.” The One Belt, One Road policy is drawing attention across the globe and we will look to discuss in detail the challenges and opportunities in Washington DC on March 14th.

The one day "Belt and Road Initiative" Investment Form in Washington DC jointly hosted by Artisan Business Group and American Center for the Belt and Road Initiative provides an overview of China's global economic development and investment strategy. The forum will provide useful insights for the Belt and Road Initiative and opportunities for US business and industrial sectors as the Initiative approaches Latin America and North America.

Will removing term limits in China’s Communist party increase immigration?

President Xi and China’s communist party is planning to change its constitution to remove term limits. The recent announcement has made a lot of Chinese worried about the future of the country. The search of "immigration" on Chinese search engine has increased dramatically after the announcement. The Chinese government is now restricting search data for “immigration” to be public due to the influx of interest. We believe if President Xi plans to stay in power long-term, there will be a higher percentage of Chinese looking to emigrate in the next few years, as citizens are concerned about the direction of the country.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Discover new opportunities with "One Belt and One Road" Forum

 March 14, 2018 Washington DC

This one day "Belt and Road Initiative" Investment Form in Washington DC jointly hosted by Artisan Business Group and American Center for the Belt and Road Initiative provides an overview of China's global economic development and investment strategy "The Belt and Road Initiative" initiated by President Xi Jinping, the topics range from background, opportunities and challenges for US companies, and outlook, etc. It provides useful insights and outlook of the Belt and Road Initiative and opportunities for US business and industrial sectors as the Initiative will approach markets of Latin America and North America.

Featured Guests: 
  • Mr. Zhao Zhenge, General Representative, China Council for the Promotional of International Trade
  • Mr. Luis Fortuno, Former Governor of Puerto Rico
  • Dr. Wanfa Zhang, Political Scientist 
  • Mr. Xiaoli Hu, Jiangsu Maritime Institute (China)
  • Mr. Jonathan Lim, President, JLA Holding Co. (Singapore) and more...
  • Introduction and Background of the Belt and Road Initiative
  • American Perspectives and Strategic Outlook
  • Belt and Road Initiative with International Blockchain Infrastructure
  • Opportunities and Challenges for US Industrial Sectors
  • Opportunities for US Infrastructure Improvements
  • Leveraging International Platform for Cooperation
  • The Next Steps for US Companies to Access BRI Partners and Opportunities

    Register at

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

George Washington Immigration Group Debuts Loan Platform for EB-5 Debt [Updated]

(Source: Commercial Observer)  George Washington Immigration Group has secured the capital to provide $1.25 billion in first-lien construction loans and bridge loans to developers seeking EB-5 financing, Commercial Observer can exclusively report. Read more at

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Brian Su speaks at 5th Annual Puerto Rico Investment Summit

Brian Su was a guest speaker at the Puerto Rico Investment Summit to discuss the investment opportunities on the Island. The Summit was aimed at investors, CEO's, business owners, tax lawyers, insurance professional and financial experts to help promote investment in Puerto Rico.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Moinian Group tries to raise $350M in EB-5 funding for 3 Hudson Boulevard

(Source: The Real Deal) Moinian Group hopes to raise between $250 million and $350 million in EB-5 funding for 3 Hudson Boulevard. George Washington Immigration Group, an EB-5 regional center, was tapped to arrange the financing, Commercial Observer reported. The regional center structures investments as limited partnerships, the CO reported.

Moinian, led by Joseph Moinian, broke ground on the 53-story, 2-million-square-foot office tower near Hudson Yards last year, but funding remains an open question. The developer has yet to land a construction loan and is looking for a debt and equity package of up to $3 billion to pay for the tower. Moinian in November tapped JLL to lock down the financing, with a capital stack featuring $1.8 billion in debt and $1.2 billion in equity. Bloomberg first reported in November that Moinian considered raising up to $500 million in EB-5 capital. The Real Deal broke down the tower’s funding challenge in its January issue. Beyond the financing quest in Hudson Yards, Moinian has beefed up its lending operation in recent months, with four new financing deals in New York and Miami worth $216 million.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Artisan Business Group to organize US real estate investment training events

Artisan Business Group is to plan and organize US real estate investment and sales training programs in Beijing and Shenzhen, China in late March 2018.  Chinese investors continue to be the largest foreign buyers of US real estate. The program is designed to train Chinese real estate agents and buyers who are interested in purchasing foreign properties.

  To organize and host your own promotional events in China,  please contact us today at

China Reins in Investors With New Rules

(Source: Radio Free Asia) After clamping down on outbound investment last year, China's government appears to be tightening its vise even further in 2018.

In recent months, China's planning, financial and regulatory agencies have issued a slew of warnings, threatening to curb overseas investment with new guidelines, restrictive categories and reviews.

Last month, the government added to the roster of discouraging measures with a 36-point "code of conduct" for outbound direct investment (ODI).

The vaguely-worded rules require enterprises to invest "in line with their own conditions and abilities." But the provisions carry a pointed message for those seen as violators of the government's investment policies. Read more at

Quiros settles for $81 million with SEC for EB-5 fraud at Jay Peak Resort

(Source: The former owner of Jay Peak Resort who was the mastermind of a “Ponzi-like” scheme in the Northeast Kingdom has agreed to pay back $81 million as part of a settlement with the government. Read more report at

Ten Things to Know About Communist Party Membership Inadmissibility

(Source: Bernard Wolfsdorf & Joseph Barnett) Communist party membership issues are becoming more common in visa cases.  Our firm has seen an increase in scrutiny by U.S. consulates on this issue.  It is important to focus on this issue with China as #1, and Vietnam as #2, in the number of EB-5 immigrant visas issued and adjustment of status applications approved in Fiscal Year 2017. Immigration attorneys, Regional Centers, migration agencies, and intending immigrants must understand the rules, exceptions, and waivers to this ground of inadmissibility.  Here are 10 things to know about this topic:

  1. The Immigration and Nationality Act. Individuals who are inadmissible are not permitted by law to enter or remain in the United States.  The Immigration and Nationality Act sets forth grounds for inadmissibility in Section 212.  One of grounds, found at INA Section 212(a)(3)(D), is “membership in a totalitarian party,” which states: “Any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate thereof), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible.”
  2. Definition of “Affiliate”. The term affiliate, as used in INA Section 212(a)(3)(D), means “an organization related to, or identified with, a proscribed party or association, including any section, subsidiary, branch, or subdivision thereof, in such close association as to evidence to or furtherance of the purposes and objectives of such association or party, or to indicate a working alliance to bring the purposes and objectives of such association or party.”   Note, a mere intellectual interest in, sympathy for, or favoring the ideologies of the Communist or other totalitarian party does not constitute affiliation with such an organization unless accompanied by some positive and voluntary action that provides support, money, or another thing of value.  This can be an issue for organizations or companies that are owned or controlled by the People’s Republic of China or a Chinese government municipality, such as media organizations, energy/utility companies, trade unions, and minor political parties.
  3.  Exception for Past Membership. The INA provides an exception to this ground of inadmissibility, for those whose membership or affiliation with the Communist party or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate thereof) is in the past.  A Chinese or Vietnamese visa applicant must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the consular officer that his/her membership or affiliation ended at least 5 years before the date of applying for a visa, and that the applicant is not a threat to the security of the United States.  In many cases, membership dues to the Chinese Communist Party (“CCP”) are paid directly by a visa applicant’s employer, which can further complicate the ability to withdraw as a member.  See 9 FAM 302.5-6(B)(5).
  4. Non-Voluntary Membership. The INA provides an explicit exception membership or affiliation with the Communist Party, if the visa applicant establishes that such membership or affiliation “is or was involuntary or is or was solely when under 16 years of age, by operation of law, or for purposes of obtaining employment, food rations, or other essentials of living and whether necessary for such purposes.”  See INA Section 212(a)(3)(D)(ii).  This includes when membership is a requirement for admission to a university, or to continue studies, or to obtain other academic benefits.  Additionally, this exception includes those who join the Communist Party solely for the purpose of obtaining, retaining, or advancing one’s career, as long as it can be demonstrated that the visa applicant has not “subscribed to communist ideology.”
  5. Non-Meaningful Membership. It is also possible to find relief from inadmissibility for membership in, or affiliation with, the Communist Party, if such membership or affiliation is “non-meaningful.”  S. Supreme Court case law indicates that membership is “non-meaningful” if the visa applicant “when the dominating impulse to the affiliation was wholly devoid of any political implications,” or when participation in the membership would not “substantially support the inference of awareness of the political aspects of the organization.”
  6. Waiver. There is a limited waiver to this ground of inadmissibility, for immigrant aliens who are “the parent, spouse, son, daughter, brother, or sister of a U.S. citizen, or the spouse, son, or daughter of a lawful permanent resident, for humanitarian purposes to assure family unity, or when it is otherwise in the public interest,” if the immigrant is not a threat to the security of the United States.  See INA Section 212(a)(3)(D)(iv).  The waiver application is submitted directly with USCIS through a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility.  There are no waivers for nonimmigrant visa applicants.  If one spouse is a party member, it may be advisable to have the non-party member spouse apply as the principal applicant. This is because obtaining a waiver of inadmissibility requires the inadmissible applicant to have a close “nuclear” family relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  7. DS-260 v. Form I-485. After an employment-based application (like a Form I-526 or Form I-140) is approved by USCIS, a national outside the United States must apply for an immigrant visa by completing a DS-260  The DS-260 asks: “Are you a member of or an affiliate with the Communist of other totalitarian party.”  This is a question on current membership.  On the other hand, the Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status asks:  “Have you EVER been a member of, or in any way affiliated with, the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party (in the United States or abroad)?”  This questions both current and past membership.  The U.S. government will not rely solely on the visa application or the applicant’s statements to make a determination of inadmissibility; instead, it will review evidence available on the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS), or Independent Name Check (INC), or any other outside information available.
  8. Never Lie. It is never a good idea to withhold information about one’s membership in the Communist Party. Consular officers in communist countries are very knowledgeable and will often make assumptions based on the sensitive or senior position held in the military or other areas that may connotate party membership.  A visa applicant may be found inadmissible if he/she obtains an immigration benefit through fraud or willful misrepresentation.  See INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i).  More importantly, a finding of misrepresentation or fraud can result in a lifetime bar to entering the United.
  9. Proving a Negative. For visa applicants who have previously been employed in senior positions in certain industries (such as media), the U.S. consulate may ask how the applicant was able to obtain such a position without being a member of the Communist Party.  In practice, this requires a visa applicant to prove a negative – that, despite his/her job, he/she is not a member of the Communist Party.
  10. Verifying Evidence is CriticalA visa applicant must provide evidence to verify claims related to Communist Party membership.  This could be in the form of expert advisory opinions, comparison of payroll records for employees who are members and for those who are not, personal declarations, and supporting letters from family or colleagues.  Retaining an experience immigration attorney who can draft a compelling legal brief for the visa applicant to provide the U.S. consulate is key.  Additionally, because the U.S. Consulate will seek a security advisory opinion from the Department of State in Washington D.C. prior to issuing a visa, applicants must be prepared for delays. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Belt and Road Initiative Investment Forum

2018 investment and business delegation to China

Now we are taking pre-registrations for the 2018 investment and business delegation to China this summer.  The one week trip is designed to explore Chinese private equity and investment fund market. For more information, please contact us today at

India will become the second largest EB-5 visa market in the world

"With the fate of the H-1B visa programme, which has long been used by the Indian IT industry for skilled workforce transfer to the US, still hanging in the balance, the EB-5 visa has emerged as an alternative. The visa involves a high initial investment of USD 500,000 but guarantees relocation to the US, and has been untouched by the US Congress for over two decades now. In an interview with Moneycontrol, Westport, Connecticut-based private investment firm LCR Partners’ co-founder Rogelio Caceres and general counsel Matthew Virkstis, talks about why India is set to overtake Vietnam as the second largest EB-5 market this year in the world, and what kind of people are willing to invest in the visa." Read the interview on Indian EB-5 Market here.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Brazilians are getting in on the EB-5 game in a major way

(Source: The Real Deal) Brazil’s rise to number three for fiscal year 2017 came on an 88 percent increase in new visas issued year-over-year. In 2015, just 34 EB-5 visas were issued to Brazilians. Read more at

Friday, January 26, 2018

U.S. Files Amended Complaint to Forfeit $500,000 in EB-5 Funds From Sanctioned Chinese Coal Company Accused of Laundering Money for North Korea

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

WASHINGTON - The United States has filed an amended complaint to forfeit an additional $500,000, for an aggregate amount of $4,583,935, from Dandong Chengtai Trading Co. Ltd. also known as Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Material Co., Ltd, and its owner Chi Yupeng, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office.

            The original complaint, which sought to forfeit $4,083,935, was filed on Aug. 22, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. According to the complaint, Dandong Chengtai is owned by a Chinese national, Chi Yupeng, and is based in Dandong, China. The investigation revealed that North Korea exports coal for the benefit of the North Korean government, and in particular, its military.  Coal generates over $1 billion in revenue per year for North Korea. 
            Also on Aug. 22, 2017, the Treasury Department designated Dandong Zhicheng for having sold coal from North Korea.  The designation noted that Dandong Zhicheng allegedly used the foreign exchange received from the end users of North Korean coal to purchase other items for North Korea, including nuclear and missile components.  Chi Yupeng was also designated, for having used a network of companies to engage in bulk purchases, wire transfers, and other transactions on behalf of North Korean interests.
            Today’s amended complaints adds $500,000 seized from an EB-5 visa investment account.  The EB-5 visa program provides a method for eligible immigrant investors to become lawful permanent residents (i.e., “green card holders”) by investing at least $500,000 to finance a business in a targeted employment area in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers. 
            From on or about Nov. 5, 2015, through Nov. 13, 2015, according to the amended complaint, Chi Yupeng and his wife directed 12 wire transfers by 12 different individuals for a combined total of approximately $568,405 into a bank account in the United States controlled by a family member.  These wires ranged in values between approximately $31,335 and $50,000, which the government alleges was part of a scheme to circumvent Chinese capital outflow rules.  On Nov. 13, 2015, the same day as the final transfer into the U.S. bank account, Chi Yupeng and his wife caused a wire for $550,100 to be sent to an EB-5 investment program account.
            The amended complaint states that those funds are subject to forfeiture as Chi Yupeng and Dandong Chengtai generated millions of dollars of revenue from the illegal sale of North Korean coal that benefitted sanctioned entities in North Korea.  The subsequent laundering of the proceeds of these transactions, including by attempting to invest in the EB-5 program is in violation of U.S. law.
            The claims made in the complaint are only allegations and do not constitute a determination of liability.
            The FBI’s Chicago Field Office, with support from the FBI Counterproliferation Center, is investigating the case. Assistant U.S Attorneys Arvind K. Lal, Zia M. Faruqui, Christopher B. Brown, Deborah Curtis, Ari Redbord, and Brian P. Hudak are prosecuting the case, with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Toni Anne Donato and Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick.