FOR AMERICAN SINOPAN:

It’s back to the drawing board

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Posted on May 24 2019

This artist’s rendition shows the garden-themed hotel that American Sinopan LCC wants to build in Tanapag. (Contributed photo)

Despite being denied its bid to bring in 620 foreign workers to build its garden-themed hotel in Tanapag, American Sinopan LCC is not throwing in the towel.

The company is, in fact, going back to the drawing board to come up with a new approach to keep the Saipan Garden Resort project afloat following the denial of American Sinopan’s H-2B worker applications by the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals.

Nor will the company play the blame game. “It is a situation where nobody is to blame so we are not doing that,” said American Sinopan chief executive officer Ken Lin in a telephone interview.

Right now, Lin is in Shanghai to meet with the company’s board of directors to explain the judge’s decision and reassess its investment on Saipan.

“With this event, we will figure a way to bring in or change the construction method of the project…and explore different options,” Lin added.

He emphasized that they have to move quickly so not to lose investors. “Investors won’t wait and so we are looking for ways to move on,” Lin said.

He insists the company has been diligent in sending its applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—one in October last year and another in April for the workers it needs to start construction, and has faithfully followed U.S. regulations.

American Sinopan’s original plan was for Hilton to manage the hotel it was building in Tanapag.

Last May 20, an online story on the website Law360 said that American Sinopan’s application to hire H2-B workers to build its Saipan hotel had been denied by the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals.

The story quoted Administrative Law Judge Steven B. Berlin as saying that, although American Sinopan nearly overcame some deficiencies, it left out crucial information about its business model, operations, and plan for the future after the resort is built.

“The central difficulty is that American Sinopan has not described itself adequately to make sense of its business model. …Very few corporations are formed for a short-term, temporary purpose; most people forming corporations intend that the corporation will be financially successful and continue its operations over the long term,” the Law360 article quotes Berlin as saying in the decision.

Nonetheless, Lin thanks local CNMI officials for their assistance in helping American Sinopan secure its labor needs.

“We appreciate the assistance of the CNMI Labor headed by Secretary Vicky Benavente for helping explain to USCIS the situation of the workforce problem here on Saipan.

He expressed regret that Belkin was unable to fathom the operational setup of American Sinopan.

“We are not a construction company but a development company. We build and another company will [operate]….This is a recognized business model in Asia,” Lin said.

“The people that I need is just for the time [when we are] building but, when applying for H-2B workers, U.S. regulations interpret that when there is development, there is construction and continuance of the business,” he added.

Lin said they remain on track in pursuing the project. “Our company and investors believe in the project and the potential is definitely there.”

“We hope for the continuous support of the local government. This venture will benefit tourism and economy of the island,” he added.

Bea Cabrera
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.
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