But the administration’s aggressive approach to China did not stop companies with ties to Beijing from benefiting from one of the main programs intended to prop up the United States economy.
The Paycheck Protection Program, which was created as part of a $2.2 trillion relief package signed in March, was devised to help small businesses with fewer than 500 workers cover payrolls and overhead expenses while much of the economy was shuttered. When big publicly traded companies that had access to other forms of capital took out P.P.P. loans, the Trump administration publicly shamed them and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged them to repay the money, saying they could face criminal liability if they did not qualify for the loans.
But the rules of the program also allowed American subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies to apply for and receive loans.
The Horizon Advisory report, which analyzed public filings and loan data that was released by the Treasury Department in June, does not claim to be an exhaustive account of the more than five million loans that were initiated through the program. The data released by the Treasury Department, for instance, shared loan amounts in ranges only for businesses that borrowed more than $150,000, and information for private firms that took smaller loans was released only in aggregate.
Among the companies highlighted in the report were Continental Aerospace Technologies, which received a loan of up to $10 million, and Aviage Systems, which received a loan of up to $350,000. The companies are owned by Aviation Industry Corporation of China, a state-owned conglomerate that the Department of Defense classified this year as a Chinese military company.
The Coronavirus Outbreak ›
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated August 4, 2020
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
- As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?
- The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
Should I refinance my mortgage?
- It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you’re thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.
What is school going to look like in September?
- It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California’s two largest public school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation’s largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There’s no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.
HNA Group North America LLC and HNA Training Center NY, subsidiaries of China’s HNA Group, both received loans of up to $1 million. HNA Group specializes in real estate, aviation and financial services transactions and is part of the Fortune Global 500.
And BGI Americas Corporation, which is a subsidiary of the Chinese gene-testing giant BGI Group, took a loan of up to $1 million. The company, which is building a gene bank in Xinjiang, did return the money, however, after Axios reported on the loan.