US concerns about Kushner family conflict of interest have no importance in China

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/9 21:38:39

Although it may not be easy to handle conflicts and problems emerging from the current Sino-US ties in which the commercial empires of US President Donald Trump or his son-in-law Jared Kushner sometimes dominate US media debate, China is unlikely to provide preferential treatment to their commercial interests just for the sake of improving bilateral ties.

When Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer urged Chinese investors to consider investing in a New Jersey property development through an EB-5 visa program, there was no indication that the Chinese government had any interest in engaging in these kinds of commercial activities that might lead to direct or indirect contact with the Trump and Kushner families.

Trump and Kushner's business interests are unlikely to be given special treatment in China. However, if viewed from another angle, it is also impossible for China to deliberately block commercial activities relating to the Trump and Kushner families. Although the New York Times criticized the Kushner family for standing to gain from visa rules in the first major piece of legislation that Trump signed into law, what Kushner's sister has done in China over the weekend - urging wealthy Chinese to consider investing in a Kushner Companies real estate project - could be seen as a normal commercial activity. And the fact that she mentioned her brother's new role in the Trump administration during the pitch was not in violation of Chinese law, so China's authorities have no reason to interfere.

The US EB-5 visa program is not something new for Chinese nationals. According to data from The Guardian newspaper, almost 85 percent of EB-5 allocations go to Chinese citizens. What's more, real estate is always a key area for attracting Chinese nationals who want to obtain a US green card through investment. There is always real estate sales information published on the website of the Chinese edition of the New York Times to attract investors, suggesting Chinese people's addiction to overseas real estate has become an open secret. The Chinese authorities have no reason to prevent Kushner Companies from launching a sales promotion to introduce its real estate project at a time when even the New York Times wants to capitalize on Chinese investors' interest in overseas property.

It is understandable that some observers are concerned about Jared Kushner's role in the administration and whether it may benefit his family's business. However, such issues are a concern for the US, not China. One piece published by the Washington Post said that Kushner should recuse himself from US policy on China. But would the Washington Post suggest Kushner should distance himself from UK-related issues if his sister's sales pitch had happened in the UK?

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: EYE ON THE ECONOMY

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