On the same day Ivanka Trump met Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the US, a government office in China approved trademarks for her namesake brand.
The Chinese president was dining with America’s first family in Florida as China granted preliminary approval for three trademarks covering Ivanka Trump jewellery, bags and spa service, according to official documents.
Ivanka Trump China marks were granted for four other sectors since the inauguration of her father Donald Trump as US president, and she has 32 pending, according to the Associated Press.
Critics say Trump’s White House has created a minefield of ethics concerns, with the president and his top officials representing one of the wealthiest US cabinets in history, their business empires spanning the globe, reports The Guardian. Ivanka Trump was appointed assistant to the president last month after previously saying she would not join her father’s administration.
While she no longer manages her clothing, jewellery and accessories brand, Ivanka Trump still owns the business. She has put it in a trust run by family members.
“Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and [brother] Jared appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy. I would never have allowed it,” says former chief White House ethics lawyer Norman Eisen, who served with president Barack Obama. “For their own sake, and that of the US, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters.”
US law prohibits government officials from handling government matters that could enrich their business or that of their spouse. Almost all of Ivanka Trump’s products are made in China, and US policy on trade or China’s currency could benefit her financially.
Her lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, says the federal ethics rules do not require anyone to recuse themselves from any matter concerning a foreign country just because a business they have an ownership interest in has a trademark application pending there.
“Ivanka will recuse from particular matters where she has a conflict of interest or where the White House counsel determines her participation would present appearance or impartiality concerns.”