Moorish communities should explore Chinese business ties in ‘Qualified Opportunity Zones’

Tom Pauken II, is author, US vs. China: From Trade War to Reciprocal Deal, and Asia-Pacific affairs commentator based in Beijing

BEIJING:  The Moorish communities in the United States of America are firm believers in supporting each other through thick and thin while endorsing traditional family values and serving as symbols of hope for residents hailing from impoverished neighborhoods. They seek to become outstanding role models for many others to follow as they openly embrace a spirit of self-reliance, hard work, alongside demonstrating a fervent defense of life and private property.

The Moors are rising with greater influence in the US and deservedly so. Yet, the Moors are not about victim-hood. They understand that to become a success in life you must demonstrate self-respect by taking responsibility for oneself. Many residents in poor neighborhoods in America have failed to adhere to the Moor values as they perceive victim-hood as a valid excuse to engage in bad behaviors and for some – criminal activities.

But for the Moors, they may have family members, relatives or friends who have not joined their cause of self-reliance. Their beloved brothers and sisters, non-Moors, could have fallen away from righteousness with some of them living on the streets while succumbing to alcoholism, drug addictions or other symptoms of mental illness.

People living under such circumstances may lack employment opportunities to lift themselves up from their bootstraps, while the Moors may still want to help them out but only if they can take responsibility for themselves by working in gainful employment or to enroll in vocational training to learn job skills in order to become productive members to society.

Tapping into QOZs

Nevertheless, there’s some good news to announce. US President Donald J. Trump has worked closely with US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Ben Carson to establish designated impoverished neighborhoods as “Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ).”

The program was launched three years ago with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Trump in 2017. The QOZs receive preferential tax and business regulations treatments for investors, so long as the projects spur economic development and job creation, according to the IRS (Internal Revenues Service).

There are over 8,760 QOZs nationwide. As of August 24, Opportunity Zones have attracted over US$75bn in investments, far surpassing initial expectations, with the original target to reach $100bn in 10 years.

Therefore, Moorish business people should take a closer look at buying into QOZs to offer jobs and opportunities for those residing in the local communities. Meanwhile, Chinese companies, investors and citizens should consider doing the same by pouring investments into QOZs as well.

Moors and Chinese as US-China bridge-builders

The Chinese love to seek out great deals and they could partner up with the Moors to open up new businesses, factories and offices in ‘opportunity zones.’ Many Chinese would like to invest in the USA, but they worry about high tax rates, stringent business regulations and surging land and property prices.

The preferential tax treatments are a good sell for QOZs. The local communities would welcome more businesses entering their neighborhoods, even if the companies hail from China.

Kim Klacik is the Republican Party nominee running for the US Congressional District 7 District in Baltimore, which has a QOZ. She met with Moorish member, Jaleel-Hu El, at a recent campaign event and expressed her support to him for more manufacturing investments in Baltimore’s QOZs.

Amid the US-China trade wars, there’s still a high probability Trump will get re-elected to White House in November and Kim Klacik could become a Congresswoman. Therefore, Chinese companies should play it smart by placing more investments in QOZs and show a special interest to Baltimore and the surrounding area.

Chinese investments with some assistance from the Moors community can lead to more enhanced US-China bridge-building, which can pave the path for peace and prosperity in our world.

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