Earlier this month, China gave Ivanka Trump provisional approval of three trademarks for her company — the very same day she dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at her family’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The trademarks give the nation with the second-largest economy monopoly rights to sell the embattled Ivanka-brand bags, spa services and jewelry, The Associated Press reported.
Even in the wake of boycotts and several U.S. retailers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Burlington Coat Factory pulling Ivanka’s brand earlier this year, her company has been thriving.
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Imports, mostly from China, leapt about 166 percent last year and the brand has been having record-breaking sales so far this year, according to the AP.
The trademark news comes after Trump has tried to distance herself from her namesake brand since she took on an advisory role to her father, President Donald Trump. She still owns the company, and since the election, her brand applied for several new trademarks in the Philippines, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S.
Her business dealings while holding a White House position, albeit an unpaid one, have raised questions about ethics, something that has plagued the White House since Trump took office, and what his advisers have dealt with on the campaign trail.
Trump has transitioned her brand’s assets to a family-run trust that is valued at more than $50 million and “will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues or the commercial terms of agreements,” her attorney said in a statement.
But that might not be enough for some ethics experts.
"Put the business on hold and stop trying to get trademarks while you're in government," Richard Painter, who was President George W. Bush’s chief White House ethics lawyer, told the AP.
Painter’s successor to President Barack Obama, Norman Eisen, agreed.
“Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and [husband] Jared [Kushner] appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy. I would never have allowed it,” he said. “For their own sake, and the country’s, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters.”