The Trump Organization Makes Deal For China-Backed Hotel, Resort In Indonesia
Indonesian developer MNC Land has announced plans to build a 7,400-acre "integrated lifestyle resort" outside Jakarta, to be called MNC Lido City, the South China Morning Post reports. The project will be partially funded by $500M in loans from the Chinese government, and will include Trump-branded hotels, residences and a golf course.
An affiliate of Chinese construction firm Metallurgic Corporation of China has signed on to the project to construct a theme park, and, although it does not appear to have any development overlap with the Trump portions of the project, MCC did say that its involvement was "in response to" China's announcement of a massive infrastructure plan called the Belt and Road Initiative, meant to connect its industry to Europe, the rest of Asia and Africa, according to the South China Morning Post.
The Trump Organization, from which President Donald Trump has not divested himself as he left the day-to-day management to his children, previously promised to make no new deals with foreign governments while Trump was in office. When a reporter asked Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah how this new deal fits within that rhetoric, Shah referred the question to the Trump Organization.
Negotiations between the Trump Organization and MNC Land have reportedly been ongoing since 2015. The head of MNC Land, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, met with Chinese state officials and banking executives to secure financing for MNC Lido City, and in early 2017 attended Trump's inauguration.
During that same trip, Tanoesoedibjo met with Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump at Trump Tower in New York, and was photographed with the president, the Morning Post reports. Donald Jr. and Eric have met with MNC multiple times to hash out details of the project, according to MNC corporate filings obtained by the Morning Post.
Multiple ethics experts expressed concern over possible conflicts of interest to the Morning Post, and the connection between Trump's company and China becomes more worrisome in light of a tweet Trump sent out on Sunday directing the Commerce Department to end a ban on dealings with Chinese telecom giant ZTE after the company was found to be dealing with Iran and North Korea.
President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
China's top economic official, Vice-Premier Liu He, is scheduled to meet with the White House next week to discuss the trade deficit between the U.S. and China that Trump has repeatedly criticized. In light of Trump's recent comments and his company's deal in Indonesia, that meeting will be heavily scrutinized.