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Ivanka Trump won 16 Chinese trademarks despite closing her business

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Ivanka Trump - 2013Jemal
Countess/Getty Images for Lord & Taylor

  • Ivanka Trump’s brand won a slew of new Chinese
    trademarks in October despite its doors being closed in
    July.
  • The trademarks were filed for everything from umbrellas
    to sausages.
  • Critics warn that the trademarks raise questions of
    continued conflicts of interest.

Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior
adviser, won initial approval for 16 Chinese trademarks
despite the company shutting its doors in July, according to
records released
by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The trademarks are the largest grouping approved in a single
month for the brand since Trump’s election, and raise questions
surrounding continued conflicts of interest for one of Trump’s
senior advisers.

The applications for the trademarks, which were
pertain
 to everything from bags to umbrellas to
sausages, were filed in May 2016, but were notably not withdrawn
when Ivanka’s business was shuttered.

In July, Ivanka closed down her business, saying “my focus
for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in
Washington.” 

“I do not know when or if I will ever return to the
business,” she said.

But according to an unnamed source from a
July report
in The Washington Post, the president’s
daughter 

planned to continue to seek
trademarks, even after her company shut down.

Shut down, but not shut out

Ivanka’s brand received intense scrutiny after Trump’s
election. Her products were almost exclusively made
overseas
despite her and her fathers championing of local
labor, and the brand was dropped from retailers like Marshall’s,
Nordstrom, and TJ Maxx. Those developments were prompted in part
by public animus toward her father. By June 2018, sales had
dropped nearly 45%, according to a
Wall Street Journal report
.

In May, Ivanka’s brand received
approval
for seven trademarks. The same month, Trump
announced that he had reached a deal with China to lift the US
ban on telecom giant ZTE. The timing of that news raised some
eyebrows as well.

 Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for
Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told Business Insider in
May that “It raises significant questions about corruption, as it
invites the possibility that she could be benefiting financially
from her position and her father’s presidency or that she could
be influenced in her policy work by countries’ treatment of her
business.”

When Ivanka announced her brand’s closure in July, it was
speculated that certain ethics conundrums stemming from the
business would be sealed.

But according to Caroline Zhang, social media manager at
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, these new
approvals revive previous concerns of conflicts of interest:
“Since she has retained her foreign trademarks, the public will
continue to have to ask whether Trump has made foreign policy
decisions in the interest of his and his family’s
businesses.”

Previously, officials from Ivanka’s company have
claimed
that her international trademarks were measures to
prevent foreign entities from capitalizing on her name. Business
Insider has reached out to brand president Abigail Klem and will
update this post with any response.

The first daughter’s business strategy isn’t entirely
clear. While it’s possible that she is continuing to pursue
trademarks in the hopes of one day reopening her business, it’s
also possible that the approved trademark applications were
simply loose ends that were never tied up.

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