China Grants Ivanka Trump Initial Approval for New Trademarks
HONG KONG — China granted initial approval for 16 new trademarks to Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter and senior adviser, renewing questions about the Trump family’s intermingling of official roles and international business interests.
Among the broad array of trademarked items were shoes, shirts and sunglasses — the sort of products that were sold under her recently closed fashion label. Other categories given initial approval were less obvious fits, like voting machines, homes for senior citizens and semiconductors.
Representatives of Ms. Trump and the Trump Organization have previously described their trademark applications in China as part of a global effort to protect their names in places where intellectual property rights infringement is rampant.
But that effort has spurred criticism that the Trumps’ roles in government smooth the way for the trademark approvals, and that the prospect of future Trump business in China clashes with the White House’s attempts to challenge the country over trade.
“Ivanka receives preliminary approval for these new Chinese trademarks while her father continues to wage a trade war with China,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog organization, said in an article that first reported on the latest trademarks. “Since she has retained her foreign trademarks, the public will continue to have to ask whether President Trump has made foreign policy decisions in the interest of his and his family’s businesses.”
In May, China granted Ms. Trump several trademarks just as President Trump promised he would help prevent the bankruptcy of a major Chinese electronic maker that had violated American sanctions.
The timing was probably coincidental, but it prompted accusations that the decisions were somehow linked. Ms. Trump shut down her fashion brand in July, saying she wanted to devote herself to her White House role. But the difficulties the label faced because of its association with politics was a leading factor in that decision.
Last year, Mr. Trump also added several trademarks in China, where he has more than 100 listed. Many of those received preliminary approval shortly after he told the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, that he would maintain the United States’ longstanding policy toward Taiwan, which Chinese leaders had feared he would upend.
That timing prompted criticism that Mr. Trump’s business interests benefited from his presidency, or at least created the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The Trump Organization, which is now run by the president’s adult sons, also moved last year to protect the Trump name in the semiautonomous Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. Mr. Trump’s trademarks are held by DTTM Operations, a New York company.
Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, the organization responsible for Ms. Trump’s trademarks, applied in 2016 for the marks that were given initial approval last month. A representative of the company could not immediately be reached for comment.
The latest trademarks covered Ms. Trump’s name in English and Chinese for a variety of goods and services, including clothing, electronics and medical facilities. Listed in the fine print were several unlikely items, including veterinary clinics and fire extinguishers.
Barring any legal challenge, the trademarks will be formalized after three months.
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