Former U.S. Representative reports profitable trip to China
Former U.S. Representative Rob Simmons recently reported to the Norwich, Connecticut City Council that a trip he took to China that was promoted by Mayor Peter Nystrom could potentially benefit the city, the Norwich Bulletin reports.
In October, Simmons traveled to Wuxi, China, to examine ways for generating economic development between the city in China and Connecticut, according to the news provider. The funding for the trip came through private sources and taxpayer money was not used, the news source said.
Simmons, joined by attorney Samuel Browning and businessman Alexander Lin, met with Mayor Xiao Ping and also was able to tour some of the business, residential and industrial communities nearby, according to the news provider.
From the research he gathered on the trip, Simmons said that it could be beneficial for southeastern Connecticut to look into gaining EB-5 status. Through the EB-5 visa program, foreigners can gain U.S. green card eligibility by investing $1 million (or $500,000 in some targeted areas) in an American company or project that either creates or maintains at least 10 full-time jobs.
"This is a great opportunity for us, but we have to get the state of Connecticut involved in giving us EB-5 status," Simmons told the council. "We have to think outside the box."
A large number of EB-5 investments are handled by EB-5 regional centers, which can help direct the money. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an EB-5 regional center is "any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment."
Organizers seeking approval of the regional center are required to submit a proposal that demonstrates how the center's business plan will provide an economic boost to the area through the creation of jobs both directly and indirectly, according to the USCIS.
Simmons explained to the council that the Chinese government had developed the Wuxi New District in 1992 in order to promote economic development by way of science, innovation and technology, the news source said.
The former U.S. Representative from Connecticut called the developments "impressive," pointing specifically to an area called "K-Park," which took just four years to build.
Overall, Simmons said the goal of the trip was to look into ways to bring Chinese investments to the U.S.
"Outsourcing to China isn’t what we want," he told the council. "We want them insourcing to us. Think outside the box."